Govt set to unbundle CAAN

Published On: July 26, 2019 05:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 26: The government has drafted two bills in a bid to split the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), hoping that the move would pave the way for Nepal's removal from the aviation safety list of the European Union.

The EU had decided to ban all Nepal-based airlines from flying in the EU skies in 2013 accusing the Nepali side of ignoring the precautionary measures aimed at reducing aviation-related disasters. When the Nepali side asked the EU to remove Nepal from the blacklist, EU officials had insisted that Nepal unbundle the civil aviation regulatory and operating body.

Government spokesman Gokul Baskota said on Thursday that the cabinet meeting on Monday gave its nod to the two bills to pave the way for unbundling CAAN.

“There were concerns that the aviation regulatory body and airport operating body shouldn't be the same. The cabinet nod for the two bills is aimed at addressing the concern,” said Baskota while unveiling the decision of the cabinet. The government wants to promulgate two laws -- CAAN Act and Nepal Airport Authority Act.

At present, CAAN is performing both aviation regulatory and airport operating roles. After an unbundling, CAAN will issue license to airlines, scrap the license, monitor the aviation sector and take action against operators violating the rules. Likewise, the new Airport Authority will be responsible for aerodrome operations, air navigation services, air traffic control and training.

Earlier the international community had suggested Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) split its operations into two units - regulator and facilitator. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has also agreed to fund the study on splitting the services being provided by CAAN.

The ADB has offered to provide US$ 5 million to conduct study on unbundling services and capacity building of the CAAN. Officials at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation said that the government is mulling over including the private sector in ground handling -- both domestic and international -- in the facilitator unit. However, CAAN will solely control the aviation sector regulator unit.

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