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Caan to explain air safety measures taken by Nepal

  • European Commission (EC) has asked the status of compliance with safety recommendations made by various aircraft accident investigation panels
  • Caan officials have been given 4 hours to clarify the progress made by Nepal in addressing the aviation safety concerns
  • EC has also asked the status of the periodic audit of airlines
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 30, 2017-High-level officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) will be meeting with members of the European Commission (EC) in Brussels, Belgium on January 19 to explain the steps taken by Nepal to address safety deficiencies following the continuation of its ban against Nepali airlines. 

According to Caan, a six-member delegation including Tourism Secretary Maheswor Neupane and Caan Director General Sanjiv Gautam will be attending the technical committee meeting of the EC. “We have been allotted four hours to clarify the progress made by Nepal in addressing the aviation safety concerns that were raised by the EC,” said Rajan Pokhrel, deputy director general of Caan. 

On November 30, the EC decided to continue its ban against Nepali airlines that was imposed in December 13. As Nepal’s issues were not discussed during the EC’s aviation safety committee meeting held on November 13, it decided to formally invite the country’s representatives to its technical committee meeting.

On July 21, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) had removed the significant safety concerns (SSC) tag it had put on Nepal four years ago. Caan officials are optimistic that the EC will follow suit.

According to Pokhrel, the EC has asked the status of compliance with safety recommendations made by different aircraft accident investigation committees in the past. “We will be providing the compliance status from 2010 to 2016,” he said, adding that nearly 80 percent of the recommendations had been implemented. 

As the EC had raised concerns over the qualifications of pilots and their training procedures, Caan will be presenting a report on the current developments and action taken by the regulator on the matter. 

The EC had pointed to serious deficiencies with regard to pilot qualifications and training procedures following frequent air crashes in Nepal. The country saw a large number of aircraft accidents and incidents between 2009 and 2012, with at least two passenger aircraft crashing annually. The accident rate has dropped but mishaps have not been fully prevented. 

“We will also be presenting status reports of particular airlines to the EC,” he said. It has also asked the status of the periodic audit of airlines conducted by Caan and its mechanism. One of the key issues that EC has been raising is the separation of Caan into two functions—regulator and service provider. 

According to Pokhrel, Nepal had committed to splitting Caan into two separate functions in 2015. “Work is in progress but it has been moving forward at a slow pace,” he said.  

The government has also begun work to establish an independent aircraft accident investigation body as part of international obligations to improve aviation safety and prevent accidents in the future, which was one of the concerns raised by the EC. 

According to Annex 13 of Icao’s Manual of Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, each member state is required to establish an independent organization to conduct investigations into aircraft accidents and incidents that come within the jurisdiction of the state.

The next aviation safety committee meeting, which will update the EU air safety list, is expected to be held next June. The meeting will decide whether Nepal should be given a clean chit or not. 

Published: 30-12-2017 09:30

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