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Icao to help Nepal’s aviation regulator with research, development

  • Seeking guidance
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 9, 2018-The government has decided to rope in technical experts from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) to assist the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) in research and development after it is split into regulator and service provider.

The proposal has been okayed by the Caan board and has been sent to the Civil Aviation Ministry which will seek final approval from the Finance Ministry, said Rajan Pokhrel, deputy director general of Caan.

The project was proposed by Icao and will assist Nepal under Icao’s Safety Fund that aims to improve the safety of civil aviation globally, he said. Nepal will contribute 25 percent of the nearly Rs10 million Safety Fund.

According to Civil Aviation Ministry officials, a draft Integrated Civil Aviation Bill that envisages splitting Caan into two entities—regulator and service provider—is expected to be submitted to the Cabinet by October for its green light.

Although, the Law Ministry had already given its okay to the draft which was written by a government committee, a few amendments need to be made, particularly with regard to the legal aspects, said Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane, joint secretary at the Tourism Ministry. “We are preparing to send the draft to the Law Ministry again,” he said.

After the draft is approved by the Cabinet,  the bill will be presented in Parliament. Discussions will be held on each clause in the bill at various parliamentary committees, and amendments may be made at this stage. After getting clearance from the parliamentary committees, it will be tabled in Parliament.

After the bill is signed into law, it will supersede two existing laws—the Civil Aviation Act 1959 and Nepal Civil Aviation Authority Act 1996. The government will begin the consultation process on issues like management of employees and separation of the organisation’s property and liabilities which needs a great deal of planning. The technical experts from Icao will handle these subjects.

The idea of breaking up Caan had also featured in the technical committee meeting of the European Commission held in Brussels, Belgium last January where officials of Caan and the Tourism Ministry were invited to explain Nepal’s progress in addressing air safety deficiencies.

Currently, Caan has been functioning both as regulator and service provider from the same office, and there is no clear demarcation between its duties and organisational structure. As per the draft bill, Caan will continue to act as regulator while a separate Airport and Air Navigation Services will be set up to operate as service provider.

The service provider will be a public limited company and be led by a CEO. Its key responsibilities will include airport management, terminal management, ground handling, airport security, rescue and fire fighting, airport infrastructure development, airport fee and tax collection and air traffic control.

Likewise, the regulator will be responsible for licensing and regulating aviation professionals and pilots, engineers, air traffic controllers, airlines and aerodromes. The government has been working on the new law for the last nine years. The new law will integrate the previous acts to eliminate conflicts and contradictions between Caan and the Tourism Ministry, a situation that has been criticised in safety audits conducted by global aviation bodies.

Icao’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme has recommended that Caan be split to make the aviation sector more efficient. Breaking up Caan, which is also among the components of the $4.2 million Air Transport Enhancement Project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is aimed at facilitating stringent enforcement of safety measures.

Published: 09-08-2018 08:44

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