European ambassadors briefed on plans to split civil aviation body of Nepal

KATHMANDU (The Kathmandu Post/ANN) - The government has been drawing up a plan to split the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) into a regulatory body and a service provider for the last ten years.

The Tourism Ministry has informed the ambassadors from different European countries, including the ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Nepal, on the progress of splitting the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal into two entities, which they said was a prerequisite to remove Nepal from the “EU air safety list”.

The government has been drawing up a plan to split the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) into a regulatory body and a service provider for the last ten years. Pressure has been mounting on the government to lift Nepal from the “air safety list” of the European Commission as Nepali airlines have been kept on the air safety list for five consecutive years. The list was recently updated on November 28, 2018.

On Friday, addressing high-level talks with the ambassadors, Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari said that they have planned to table the Integrated Civil Aviation Bill at the winter session of Parliament.

“This was a special talk held at the political level,” said Rajan Pokhrel, deputy director general of CAAN. “The ministry briefed the visiting delegation about the progress Nepal has made and the current status of the Integrated Civil Aviation Bill that envisages functional separation of CAAN to ensure high level of safety.”

Nepal’s national aviation authority has been proposed to be divided into the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal and the Air Service Authority of Nepal. The draft has been sent to various concerned ministries for their comments and recommendation.

According to the draft, regulatory functions (like flight crew and non-flight crew licensing, among other tasks) will be under the jurisdiction of CAAN while airports, air navigation services and the civil aviation academy will come under the jurisdiction of the Air Service Authority of Nepal.

On December 5, 2013, the European Commission had imposed a blanket ban on all airlines from Nepal from flying into the 28-nation bloc.

In January last year, CAAN officials made a detailed presentation regarding the improvements Nepal had made to address air safety deficiencies during the technical committee meeting of the commission held in Brussels, Belgium.

Following which, the commission had agreed to send a technical team to Nepal in September to evaluate the status of Nepali airlines and their improvement towards safety.

The group was expected to prepare a field report and submit it to its technical committee meeting in November to decide whether Nepal should be removed from the air safety list.

However, concerned by slow progress on enacting the law to split the CAAN, the commission did not follow up on Nepal’s audit. The commission said that Nepal needs to do more to satisfy them fully.

Breaking up CAAN, which is among the components of the $4.2 million Air Transport Enhancement Project funded by the Asian Development Bank, is aimed at facilitating stringent enforcement of safety measures.

In July 2017, ICAO removed Nepal from its bad book after four years. The 2017 audit gave Nepal a score of 66 percent for effective implementation of safety standards. The 2013 audit report had pointed out that Nepal’s score of 55.01 percent in effective implementation of critical elements of safety oversight system was way below the global average of 60 percent.

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  • European ambassadors briefed on plans to split civil aviation body

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