“The Dream of Farnborough”
-Hardik & Harsit Gurung
“11.00 AM, July 18th, 2020, Farnborough International Airshow (FIA), Hampshire, England- The meeting regarding the acquisition and financing of multiple aircrafts with the aircraft manufacturing company, has been a success. A newly established airline company in Nepal is finalizing a multimillion-dollar agreement. As the founders and executives of the new airlines company, we sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the aircraft manufacturing company. Looking forward eight years from now, we envision managing and leading a successful airline company in Nepal”. Above is an excerpt from the first paragraph of our graduate school application essay written four years ago. Considered as the Mecca of airshows, FIA is held in even-numbered years on the month of July. Our eccentric ambitions after four years seems like a distant daydream and undeniably needs a mammoth planning to triumph this aspiring goal. A MOU of such caliber has the potential of turning the aviation industry of a country thereby boosting the economy and tourism.
Farnborough International Airshow provides trade and marketing opportunities for many airliners around the world where multi billion-dollar aircraft deals are signed. On the second day of FIA 2016, Malaysia’s AirAsia placed 100 Airbus A321neos worth $12.6 billion; India’s GoAir signed $7.7 billion deal for 72 Airbus A320neos and Chinese carriers placed multiple Boeing 737s & 787s worth billions of dollar. This literally led us to scratch our heads and made us think why we struggle to place even a single order. A logical explanation would be China, India, and Malaysia having strong economies. On the contrary, our flag carrier Nepal Airlines (NA) only holds a dismal 11% international market share. A country where foreign carriers control 90% of the available international market share is a rare occurrence in itself. Recent flight disruptions caused by the lack of maintenance of NA aircrafts justifies the need of additional aircrafts. Our own Nepalese carriers whether it be a flag or private should control our lucrative aviation market. Regardless, Nepalese private sector needs to rise and seize this asymmetrical void.
Boeing and Airbus studies have already indicated that China and India are among the fastest-growing aviation markets. Asia is destined to overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest plane market within the next two decades. The region will collectively need more than 10,000 aircrafts and 50,000 pilots. Nepal’s central geographical location between China and India provides the competitive advantage to become a transit point amid the two gigantic countries. Meeting such demands require introduction of government policies and industry standards that are in the interests of aviation industry and airliners. We need aircrafts, airports, and human resources along with strong leadership and stable political governance to succeed such visionary aviation ambitions. Recent constructions and developments of international airports in Bhairawaha and Pokhara is a symbolic step to attain these objectives.
Aviation demand and necessity already exists in the Nepalese market. Innovative ideas, optimism and youth involvement will define tomorrow’s Nepal. During our 60-year aviation history, Nepal has never ordered a wide body aircraft. Perhaps the epitome of Nepalese aviation industry will be the day when our dream of placing order of Boeing 787 Dreamliners becomes a reality at a future FIA. The subsequent milestone would be operating these wide body aircrafts on direct London Heathrow to Kathmandu flights serving many Nepalese living in Farnborough, United Kingdom.
About the Authors
Hardik Gurung currently works as a Sr. Business Analyst at Delta Airlines, Atlanta and Harsit Gurung works as a Sr. Business Analyst for NextEra Energy, Florida. They both have Master’s Degree from School of Business at University of Houston-Clear Lake and Bachelor’s Degree from Paseka School of Business at Minnesota State University Moorhead. They run a popular Instagram page “AviationNepal” that focuses on Nepalese aviation and regularly writes articles related to aviation and airlines.