Nepal fails to ensure aviation safety in international arena despite govt’s baseless claims
KATHMANDU, Nov 30: The European Union (EU) has refused to remove Nepali airlines companies from its blacklist, much to the disappointment of the high-level government officials who had claimed that the ban would be lifted soon.
Unveiling its latest report on the air safety list, the Department for Mobility and Transport of the EU has continued blacklisting 20 Nepali airlines companies. These include the majority of private airlines and helicopter companies along with the state-owned Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC).
The EU has stated that the ban has been continued as the Nepali airlines, out of a total of 129 airlines, do not meet international safety standards. “The update also reflects the decision to maintain the ban on air carriers certified in Nepal, in view of continued safety concerns identified during an assessment visit to Nepal on 11-15 September. However, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal’s proactive engagement and ongoing efforts to enhance its safety oversight capacity were duly acknowledged during the EU Air Safety Committee meeting,” reads the EU report.
The EU's technical team had carried out an on-site audit from September 11 to 15. Following the inspection by the EU team, Minister for Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, Sudan Kirati, in a public program organized last month, claimed that Nepali airlines would be removed from EU ban soon. Based on some financial improvement achieved by the NAC, Kirati put forth his claim.
The EU has been asking Nepal to split the civil aviation body into two entities—service provider and regulator, a bottom line requirement to remove it from the blacklist. The government still fails to enforce related laws and functional bodies in the line.
Nepal's airliners have been on the EU's air safety blacklist since 2013 due to significant aviation security concerns. However, it was removed from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s list of Serious Security Concern (SSC) in July 2017.