Icao to check progress in enhancing aviation safety

  • status update
- Sangam Prasain, Kathmandu
Nepal has performed poorly in effectively implementing air safety oversight systems, appearing way down among 46 Asian countries

Apr 22, 2017-An International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) team is slated to arrive in June to check the corrective measures taken by Nepal to address significant safety concerns (SSC) relating to operations and other aspects, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) said. 

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

“The ICVM team will conduct the audit from June 6-13,” said Rajan Pokhrel, deputy director general of Caan. The mission is normally invited by a state when it is fully confident that it has fulfilled all the compliances with international safety standards.

In July 2013, an Icao mission visited Nepal to validate the corrective measures taken by the country to address the deficiencies pointed out by the global aviation watchdog in 2009. 

The mission carried out an on-site audit from July 10-16. Unsatisfied with Nepal’s progress, the UN supervisory body had given the significant safety concern (SSC) tag to Nepal’s aviation sector in its audit report in August 2013. 

It had given a red flag on ‘operations’, among the eight critical elements of safety oversight, 

due to the large number of aircraft accidents and incidents between 2009 and 2012 when there were at least two passenger aircraft crashes annually. 

Nepal had performed poorly in effectively implementing air safety oversight systems, appearing way down among 46 Asian countries. The outcome of the audit had further consequences as the European Commission (EC) on December 5, 2013 put all Nepali carriers in its bad books for the worst record of air safety oversight.

There are eight critical elements that Icao considers essential for a state to establish, implement and maintain in order to have an effective national safety oversight system. They include primary aviation legislation, organization and safety oversight functions, personnel licensing, aircraft operations, airworthiness of aircraft, 

aerodromes, air navigation system and accident and incident investigation. 

“Among the eight critical elements, the mission will audit four areas—legislation, organizational, operations and airworthiness,” said Pokhrel. 

“Although, we requested Icao for an audit in all areas, accident and incident investigation did not come into the scope due to the unsatisfactory progress made by Nepal. Likewise, in three other areas—personnel licensing, navigation system and aerodromes—Icao did not deem it necessary to do an audit as we are good in these areas.”

After the audit, the mission will produce a final report in December. “We are hopeful that Nepal’s air safety credentials will be reinstated,” said Pokhrel. “There could be some minor issues, but we don’t foresee any major issues because a lot has already been implemented as compared to previous audits.” 

Caan decided to invite the audit mission after getting the go-ahead from the Combined Action Team (CAT) of Icao’s Asia and Pacific office in Bangkok which has helped it in its evaluation and preparedness. A six-member CAT mission provided assistance to Caan from November 22-25 last year.

International airlines and travellers hesitate to travel to a country whose air safety has been questioned by Icao.

Published: 22-04-2017 08:29

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