Govt taking measures to upgrade air safety

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Govt taking measures to upgrade air safety

Dec 13, 2014-

As aviation safety still remains a concern amid industry growth forecasts, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) and the government are taking initiatives to remove Nepal from the Significant Safety Concern (SSC) status tagged by the global aviation watchdog.

Officials at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said a mission from the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) regional office in Bangkok is scheduled to arrive in Nepal on December 22 to assist Nepal in the upgradation of the safety status.

“The mission will identify problems in safety standards and prepare a report which will be sent to the Icao headquarters,” said a high-level government official. “Based on the report, Icao will prepare a project to facilitate Nepal in improving its aviation standards on par with other successful nations.”  

The global aviation watchdog had placed the SSC tag on Nepal’s aviation sector in its audit report in August last year. The Icao has grave concerns about Nepal’s air safety, and has placed it among the 12 worst performing nations.

Other countries are Botswana, Kazakhstan, Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Angola, Djibouti, Eritrea, Haiti, Lebanon, Malawi and Papua New Guinea. Nepal has been red-flagged on “operations”, among the eight critical elements of safety oversight.

Separately, in the first week of November, Caan had invited an Icao auditor to Nepal to look into the overall progress made. The auditor was invited as a prelude to the Icao re-validation mission, which Caan plans to invite on March-April.  

The Icao monitors Nepal’s aviation safety oversight capabilities through the ICAO Coordinated Validation Missions (ICVM).

A mission had arrived in Nepal in July last year to validate the corrective measures taken by Nepal to address deficiencies pointed out by the global aviation watchdog in 2009. The mission carried out an on-site audit from July 10-16, 2013.

“The Icao re-validation mission will be crucial as we won’t be able to remove Nepali carriers from the European Commission (EC) blacklist unless the SSC is eliminated,” said a Caan official. “Much progress has been made to satisfy the UN’s aviation watchdog and things are looking positive for Marc-April review.”

On Thursday, the EC updated the list of airlines subject to an operating ban within the European Union and it continued Nepal on the roster of 21 states that has been included in EU air safety list for not fulfilling its international obligations with regard to the safety.

In its statement, the EC said “no decisions” were taken to remove countries whose carriers are on the EU air safety list. It said that the decision was based on the unanimous opinion of the EC’s air safety committee meeting held on November 25- 26 in Brussels, Belgium.

On December 5, 2013, the EC had included all Nepali carriers on its bad books for the first time with the worst record of air safety oversight.

Nepal has performed poorly in effectively implementing air safety oversight systems, appearing way down in the 37th position out of 46 Asian countries, according to the safety audit report of Icao. The audit report shows that Nepal has received a rating of 55.1 percent, way below the Asian average.

Among South Asian countries, Nepal is ahead of the Maldives (54.7 percent), Bangladesh (50.5 percent) and Bhutan (38.3 percent). However, Nepal trails behind Sri Lanka (87.3 percent), Pakistan (84.6 percent) and India (79.1 percent).

Published: 14-12-2014 09:53

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