Print Edition - 2015-01-01 | MONEY
Caan board okays plan to hire Icao experts
- Addressing safety concerns
Dec 31, 2014-
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) board has approved its management’s plan to hire experts from the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao), a move aimed at removing Nepal from the list of nations having “significant safety concern (SSC)”.
Caan Director General Ratish Chandra Lal Suman said a board meeting on Sunday approved the project proposal of the Icao, under which two experts will be hired for airworthiness and flight operation for a year, while one expert will assist Nepal on the personal licensing front for at least six months.
Under the Icao’s Safety Fund that aims to improve the safety of civil aviation globally, Nepal will bear 25 percent of the cost and rest by the Icao.
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. Dissatisfied with Nepal’s progress, 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.
Before the Icao’s audit report, on Dec 5, 2013, the EC had imposed a blanket ban on all airlines from Nepal from flying into the 28-nation bloc, terming them unsafe.
“Unless the SSC tag is not removed, the European Commission (EC) ‘blacklist’ will also stay,” Suman said, addressing the 16th anniversary of the Caan on Wednesday. “I am hopeful that after the accomplishment of the project, the Icao would remove the tag and the EC will follow suit.”
Suman hoped Nepal would be removed from the EC’s blacklisting in November next year after the completion of the safety project.
Two weeks ago, 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.
It said 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 22, the Caan had also invited aviation experts from the Icao regional office in Bangkok to assist Nepal in the upgradation of the safety status.
Airlines seats utilisation
As international passenger movement at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) has grown remarkably, the share of Nepali airlines has been falling continuously. Caan said the share of Nepali airlines, in terms of seats available, has nosedived to 3.6 percent.
The country has signed air service agreements with 36 countries that produce 5.982 million seats annually. Of them, only 52.5 percent seats or 3.140 million seats are consumed at present.
Among the utilised seats, Nepal has a share of only 3.6 percent, while rest is consumed by 23 foreign carriers linking Nepal. Last year, Nepali airlines had consumed 6.3 percent of the total available seats.
Two Nepali carriers—Nepal Airlines and Buddha Air—currently serve five international destinations.
Caan said three international carriers—Malaysia-based Malindo Air, Dhaka-based Regent Airways and Chengdu-based Sichuan Airlines—have applied for operation authorisation and are in final stages of approval.
Meanwhile, the aviation regulator said it has revoked the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) of 42 airlines since the implementation of AOC-Requirement Regulation 2012. Currently, there are 17 airlines (10 fixed wing and 7 rotor wing) in the country.
Published: 01-01-2015 09:22