China / Society

Nepal quake relief bolstered by Chinese aircraft, technicians

By Zhao Lei (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-11 07:55

Chinese-made aircraft played an important role in the earthquake relief work in Nepal during the past month, an aviation industry executive said.

"Our planes were the first regional airliners to resume operation and support the relief work, largely facilitating Nepal's effort to restore air transport," said Zhang Guangjian, executive vice-president of AVIC International Holding Corp. "The excellent capability of our aircraft and our technicians' performance have been highly recognized by leaders of Nepal Airlines.

"The day after the earthquake struck, the MA-60 and Y-12 began to resume flights to help relocate people and take stranded tourists to safe areas," he said.

"Within the first week after the disaster, our aircraft conducted nearly 60 flights, ferrying around 1,500 passengers.

"Our technical supporting engineers didn't neglect their duties like their peers from a Western aviation giant, but remained at their posts to take care of their planes," he said.

The Nepalese government and Nepal Airlines are satisfied with the Chinese aircraft's reliability and Chinese technicians' professionalism, Zhang said.

"Shiva Sharan Neupane, the chairman of Nepal Airlines, told me that his company deeply appreciates, and will always remember, the contribution made by Chinese aircraft and Chinese technicians," he said.

In the aftermath of two devastating earthquakes that hit Nepal in April and May, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on June 2 that around 2.8 million people remain in need of humanitarian assistance.

China has donated one MA-60 turboprop regional airplane and one Y-12 turboprop utility aircraft to Nepal since 2013, when the two governments signed an aviation agreement.

AVIC International will deliver four more planes - one MA-60 and three Y-12s - to Nepal before the end of the year, Zhang said.

The weight of Chinese aircraft is usually heavier than Western planes, but "with the advances in our material research and development, the problem will be gradually addressed", Zhang said.

According to AVIC International, the MA-60, the most used Chinese-made civilian aircraft overseas, is rapidly expanding its presence in developing nations.

By the end of 2013, more than 80 MA-60 aircraft had been delivered to buyers from 16 nations in Asia, South America and Africa.

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