KATHMANDU, Sept 30: A technical team of the European Union (EU) is all set to arrive in Nepal to audit Nepal’s aviation safety. The visit of the technical team is expected to lift Nepal’s aviation sector from the EU’s Air Safety List for nearly 10 years now.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the team would arrive in Nepal immediately after the Dashain festival and would conduct an air safety audit in the country’s aviation sector. CAAN Spokesperson Jagannath Niraula shared that the team is arriving in Nepal in the second week of October. As Nepal has made improvements in air safety rate lately, there are chances of the removal of Nepal from the EU’s air safety list.
Earlier, a technical team had arrived in Nepal in 2014. This team will conduct the audit for five days in various eight areas such as legislation, organization, personal licensing, flight operation, accident investigation, aerodrome and ground aids and air navigation service, according to Spokesperson Niraula.
According to Niraula, Nepal was above average in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s audit report. After the EU’s team conducts an air safety audit, the Nepali airlines will be allowed to fly in Europe, he said. Earlier in 2013, ICAO had put Nepal's air service in the list of serious security concerns (SSS), citing increasing risk in Nepal's aviation security.
Later in 2017, the ICAO removed Nepal from SSS list, saying it made progress in the aviation security sector. The global air security rate of the Asia Pacific Region has now reached 67. The recent safety audit conducted by ICAO mentioned that Nepali sky is now safe. Nepal had got 70.1 per cent in ICAO's safety audit. Although ICAO said that Nepal's aviation sector is safe, the EU has not yet removed Nepal from the blacklist.
The CAAN has been demanding time and again to remove Nepal from the blacklist. The European Commission under EU in 2013 had put Nepal on the blacklist showing serious concern over Nepal's aviation sector. The EU had put Nepal in the blacklist showing concern on Nepal's air safety soon after ICAO put Nepal in the SSS list.
Basis of removal from security concern list CAAN spokesperson Niraula said EU would remove Nepal from the security list as the security issues raised by EU have been addressed and the status of air safety in Nepal has improved. "Nepal will be removed from the EU's negative security list. We have made significant progress in terms of air security. Many things have been improved," he asserted.
Nepal's security rate was lower in the ICAO audit at that time. The EU had put Nepal in the security list based on this audit. Nepal's security rating has climbed according to the ICAO's latest audit and the EU team is coming to Nepal as per the CAAN's request that it was no longer proper to keep Nepal in the security list, Niraula added.
"Even the ICAO has confirmed the improvement in Nepal's air safety situation as against the issue which it had raised earlier. The air accident rate has also gone down of late. On this basis, we are hopeful that the EU will remove Nepal from its negative air safety list," Niraula said.
The international airlines registered in Nepal have not been able to operate flights over the EU due to the negative air safety list. Nepal Airlines Corporation and Himalaya Airlines cannot operate flights in European skies. However, European airplanes can easily fly in the Nepali sky.