30 April 2019: Vijay Lama, the multi-talented Nepalese pilot whose popularity rests largely on the life-affirming positive vibe he exudes, seems to have finally hit the negative core of his country as he has been robbed of the position of spokesperson for Nepal Airlines.
An insider of the civil aviation industry of the Himalayan nation told southasia.com.au that three high-level and powerful officials within the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) are extremely unhappy with Mr Lama’s recent statements that questioned the way things are run at the Tribhuvan International Airport.
On April 2, the movie star cum pilot gave a furious interview to a YouTube channel in which he questioned as to why a Nepal Airlines flight was not allowed to take off for Dubai the previous day. During the interview, he indicated that the airport authorities gave preference to a non-Nepalese airlines over the Nepal Airlines flight. He repeatedly mentioned that the A330 could not take off because the authorities shut down the airport despite his request for mere four minutes of additional time.
Crew members of that particular flight were in the cabin at 8.35 pm, passengers were seated by 9:36 pm, the doors were closed at 9:45 pm, he said. But a Dragon Air flight took off at 9:57 pm – just three minutes before the airport was scheduled to shut down its operations due to maintenance activities.
Because they did not allow four minutes, 276 passengers had to be put in hotels in Kathmandu as well as the passengers at the other end – in Dubai, he pointed out. “How much loss did the country have to bear?”, he asked.
The interview was just one example of the Senior Captain Lama’s vocal and fearless tendency to speak his mind.
As a spokesperson for Nepal Airlines, he has said things that powerful people in the industry did not take kindly – obviously.
It is understood Mr Lama and CAAN have arrived at an unofficial agreement with the former choosing to continue what he has always loved and known to do – fly hundreds upon hundreds of his personal fans and well-wishers of Nepal Airlines to their destinations.
The position of NA’s spokesperson is currently lying vacant.
“This is 21st century Nepal, how come we can’t speak our minds and discuss what is truth? No one can silence true professionals in today’s world,” the source who is an insider of Nepal’s airlines industry stated.
Appointed or not, over the years Mr Lama has become synonymous with Nepal Airlines. Even if someone else takes up the vacant position of the spokesperson, the popular pilot-activist will most likely continue to be the true voice of Nepal’s national flag carrier which Nepalese people say has suffered much due to shady characters.