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Simrik Airlines to fly Agni’s planes


KATHMANDU, OCT 24 -

Simrik Airlines has leased debt-ridden Agni Air’s entire fleet of five aircraft for five years. Simrik, Agni and a consortium of banks with investments in Agni signed a tripartite pact under which Simrik will operate the three Jetstream 41s and two Dorniers bearing its livery.

Simrik began commercial operations with one of the aircraft on the Lukla sector on Wednesday after conducting a test flight.

Agni has been offline since mid-November 2012 crippled by massive debts. The carrier’s woes began when the bottom fell out of the real estate market, and its key promoter Sudhir Basnet defaulted huge loans taken from different banks and financial institutions.

A consortium consisting of Grand Bank, Sunrise Bank and International Leasing and Finance Company have lent Rs 650 million to the troubled airline.

“Simrik has turned the bank’s bad loans into good loans, and we were ready to sweeten the deal by cutting interest rates and providing other facilities,” said Grand Bank CEO Sudhir Khatri.

Simrik will repay the loans owed by Agni on a regular basis as per the agreement. It has settled the interest until October. The total loan now stands at Rs 570 million. “In addition, the bank has issued a separate loan of Rs 200 million to Simrik,” Khatri said.

Posted on: 2013-10-24 09:03