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Nepal requests EC to unban Nepali airlines

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 17, 2017- Nepal has asked the European Commission (EC) to remove Nepali airlines from its air safety list in which they were included three years ago for their poor safety record.  

Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat made the request to EC President Jean-Claude Juncker during their meeting in Brussels on Wednesday stating that Nepal had made significant progress in aviation safety. 

President Juncker said they would look into the matter positively after studying facts provided by the government of Nepal, the Mission of Nepal to the European Union said in a press statement. 

The EC imposed a blanket ban on all airlines from Nepal from flying into the 28-nation bloc in December 2013.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) has formally invited the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) to carry out an audit of the corrective measures it has taken to address the significant safety concerns (SSC) relating to operations and other aspects, more than three years after Nepal was put in the bad books for the worst record of air safety oversight. 

Unsatisfied with Nepal’s progress, the UN aviation watchdog had given the SSC tag to Nepal’s aviation sector in its audit report. It had given a red flag on ‘operations’, among the eight critical elements of safety oversight, due to the large number of aircraft accidents and incidents between 2009 and 2012 when there were at least two passenger aircraft crashing annually. 

Caan said that it had addressed almost all the deficiencies pointed out by the Icao audit in 2013, and expressed confidence that Nepal would be removed from the safety list. In July 2013, an Icao mission visited Nepal to validate the corrective measures taken by the country to address the deficiencies pointed out by the global aviation watchdog in 2009. 

The mission carried out an on-site audit from July 10-16. The report was submitted in August 2013. 

Nepal has performed poorly in effective implementation of air safety oversight systems, appearing way down among 46 Asian countries, according to the safety audit report of Icao. 

Following the Icao audit report, the EC in December 2013 put all Nepali carriers in its bad books for the worst record of air safety oversight.

The EC has asked European operators and travel agents to inform European travellers who will have a right to reimbursement if they have booked a seat on a Nepali carrier as part of a journey to Nepal and decide not to use it. Nepali carriers will not be removed from the EC blacklist until the SSC is removed.

Published: 17-02-2017 08:43

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