National carrier Nepal Airlines is trying to lease out its fleet of Chinese-made aircraft but if it finds no takers, it plans to sell the aircraft.

The airline has issued a tender document on its website seeking lessees for its fleet of three 17-seat Harbin Y12E aircraft and its two 50-seat Xian Aircraft MA60 aircraft.

Nepal Airlines has set the minimum monthly lease rate for the Y12E aircraft at US$29,000-34,000; depending on the specific aircraft; and it is seeking a monthly lease rate for the MA60s set at a minimum of US$70,000-$78,000, depending on which of the two is leased.

A spokesperson for the airline, Archana Khadka, tells local media that if no lessees are found, the carrier will seek to sell the aircraft.

Nepal Airlines received the new Chinese-built aircraft in the period 2014 to early 2017, but in more recent years the aircraft have been grounded.

The loss-making airline has cited a lack of spare parts and difficulties finding type-rated pilots for these aircraft types, as the reason for grounding the aircraft.

Editor’s comments:

The monthly lease rates on these aircraft appear to be way too high. An aircraft monthly lease rate is often one percent of the value of the asset. Even if we were to be generous and say these second-hand MA60 aircraft are worth US$5 million each, the monthly lease rate would be around US$50,000. A valuation of US$5 million is generous, because you can by a pre-owned 70-seat ATR 72-500 for that. As for the Harbin Y-12Es, even if you said each aircraft is worth US$1 million, it would mean the monthly lease rate would be US$10,000. For US$1 million, you can buy a very good pre-owned 19-seat Dornier 228.

Feature picture, from Harbin Aircraft, shows the Nepal Airlines Y12 when it was in China prior to delivery.