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Flying the flag

Sunday, June 30th, 2013
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I am a pilot and when I fly around the region I meet people of various nationalities, ethnicities, and class in my travels. They all identify themselves by their nationality, their nation, and profession. I am inspired to similarly respect my citizenship and identify myself with my nationality. This is why I am hurt when someone says something derogatory about Nepal or Nepalis. And that is also why I stay in Nepal, I will not abandon my Motherland when she needs me most.

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Pic: Kunda Dixit

I will not leave my nation’s flag carrier when she needs me most. But me and others like me who want to think positively about Nepal Airlines cannot save it alone. It needs a robust political will on the part of our leaders. Our politics may be ugly and stinky, but we can’t ignore it. We need our leaders to rebuild the airlines’ future and the country’s.

But the leaders don’t seem to realise the importance of the national carrier because they prefer to fly foreign airlines even when Nepal Airlines has regular flights to their destination. When I heard that President Ram Baran Yadav had flown to Bangkok on Thai on his way to Japan for medical treatment, I was deeply disturbed. I watched from across the apron from the cockpit of a Nepal Airlines Boeing 757 flight RA 401. Soon after the Thai jet carrying the president took off, I flew the Nepal Airlines flight on the same route to Bangkok.

Why won’t Nepal’s first president give us the honour of flying him? Wasn’t Nepal Airlines good enough for his excellency the president, didn’t he feel that it would send an important symbolic message by flying an airline that flew the nation’s flag? Maybe our airlines is not as highly regarded, but we fly for Nepal. Don’t we have a right to expect a sense of ownership to the national airline from our leaders? As long as we don’t respect our own nation, our nation will not move forward.

Vijay Lama in Setopati, 31 June
Vijay Lama has been flying with Nepal Airlines for the past two decades.

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