New aviation law to be sent to Cabinet in Nov

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 21, 2016-

The Tourism Ministry said on Thursday that it was working to table a draft of a new integrated Civil Aviation Act in the Cabinet by November 21, after its earlier deadline set for October looked unachievable.

The proposed law will split the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) into two entities—regulator and service provider. 

Caan has been planned to be broken up to facilitate stringent enforcement of safety measures under the $4.2-million Air Transport Enhancement Project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“Caan has submitted a draft of the act to the ministry, and we have formed an assessment committee to make recommendations where necessary,” Joint Secretary Suresh Acharya told the 2016 Tripartite Portfolio Review Meeting held at the Finance Ministry.

Caan has been multitasking as regulator and service provider out of the same office, and there is no clear demarcation between its duties and organisational structure. Stakeholders have been saying that delays in approving the new law has hampered making improvements to address current safety issues and capacity constraints.

According to the ADB, the capacity development support is to ensure the establishment of air transport regulations and operations entities by breaking up Caan for self-sustained improvement of air transport.

The government has been working on the new law for the last seven years. The draft of the new act was prepared by Spanish consultancy firm Ineco and submitted to Caan in 2014. 

Ministry officials said that the new act is expected to go into effect by early 2017. It will replace two existing laws—Civil Aviation Act 1959 and Nepal Civil Aviation Authority Act 1996.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (Icao) Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme has recommended that Caan be split to make the aviation sector more efficient.

The new act will integrate the previous acts to eliminate conflicts and contradictions between Caan and the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, a situation that has been slammed in safety audits conducted by global aviation bodies.

Meanwhile, the Portfolio Review Meeting said that there would be a decision by November 15 whether or not to cancel the $75-million contract signed with Spanish contractor Constructora Sanjose for the improvement of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).

The meeting said that the project approved in November 2009 had not made any visible progress due to the negligence of the contractor and consultant. The project has made only 19 percent progress in the last seven years of its implementation. 

On September 5, Caan had issued a ‘notice to correct’ to the contractor. The project has been barred from extracting sand from the Pashupati area under an interim order from the Supreme Court, and a final verdict is awaited.

The air transport capacity enhancement project, which has been declared problematic, has the longest duration contract. Originally, the project was expected to be implemented over 67 months since being launched in December 2010. 

The project’s completion deadline was extended to 2015 and again pushed back to 2016. After it looked like the projected would not be finished even by that time, the closing date was again extended to December 2018.

Published: 21-10-2016 08:39

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