Caan set to send report on improved air safety to European Commission

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Sep 5, 2014-

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) has said that it is ready to send its report on the improvements carried out in the aviation sector to the European Commission (EC) to urge it to lift the ban on Nepali airlines.

The EC has given Caan a deadline of September 15 to submit the report. The EC’s Aviation Safety Committee meeting scheduled for November will reassess the report and decide whether the ban on Nepali carriers to fly within the European Union (EU) should be withdrawn.

Caan Director General Ratish Chandra Lal Suman said that they would start sending the documents from September 10. “We have completed all the paperwork concerning the major improvements that Nepal has made on the aviation safety front.”

The EC has pointed out deficiencies in three areas—lapses in the revalidation of the air operators’ certificate, training and licensing and Caan’s existing capacity.

The committee has pointed out Caan’s weaknesses or low capacity in primary legislation, working legislation, organization, training and qualification, authority and enforcement. “We have made significant progress in addressing the weaknesses pointed out by the EC, and are confident that these progresses will satisfy the EC’s concerns,” Suman added.

As part of the efforts to address the weaknesses, Caan last month demoted two airlines to cargo flights and issued shortened AOCs to a few others for violating safety regulations. Sita Air and Air Kasthamandap have been barred from carrying passengers due to major safety issues and neglecting international safety standards.

Likewise, Simrik Airlines has been banned from flying on instrument flight rules (IFR). Its aircraft have to fly on visual flight rules (VFR) meaning they can fly only when the weather is clear.  Simrik’s AOC has been extended for five months while the AOC of its helicopter division has been renewed for three months. Similarly, Fishtail Air’s AOC has been renewed till October 2014. The carriers have been let off under the condition that they fulfil the safety oversight standards prescribed by Caan’s new AOC Regulation.

The government has enforced the new Civil Aviation (Aircraft Accident) Investigation Regulation 2014, which gives legal authority to an independent body to probe aviation incidents. On December 5, 2013, the EC had put Nepal on the EU air safety list as it found Nepal lacking the ability to oversee aviation safety issues.

It said it could take positive decisions in the future if things kept moving in the right direction, or if Nepal was able to address air safety concerns.

Suman said that the EC is scheduled to conduct a video conference with Caan on September 22 after receiving all the documents.

Published: 06-09-2014 09:24

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