Divergent views over Civil Aviation Bill 2016The Tourism Ministry has started taking feedbacks from stakeholders concerned on the draft Integrated Civil Aviation Bill 2016, which promotes a separate responsive regulatory system to support a dynamic aviation sector.
The Tourism Ministry has started taking feedbacks from stakeholders concerned on the draft Integrated Civil Aviation Bill 2016, which promotes a separate responsive regulatory system to support a dynamic aviation sector.
But the draft has divided stakeholders. While some commented it’s too early to split Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) into two entities—regulator and service provider—others underscored tyhe need for more homework.
Tourism Minister Jeevan Bahadur Shahi, however, is of the view that the “conflict of interest” that has been prevailing at Caan for a long time has to be ended.
Caan has been multitasking as regulator and service provider out of the same office, and there is no clear demarcation between its duties and organisational structure. “The draft of the proposed bill is fundamentally sound. We need to move on with a clear demarcation between the service provider and the regulator,” he said, addressing an interaction here on Sunday.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (Icao) Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme has also recommended that Caan be split to make the aviation sector more efficient.
“Hence, we need to split Caan to be out of the safety list,” said Shahi, adding the bill will bring Nepal’s aviation law into greater conformity with the requirements of the Icao.
Lalit Bikram Shah, former regional director of Bangkok-based Icao Asia and Pacific office, however, has different opinion about breaking Caan into two units. “We all know the current status of the country’s aviation sector. Our only international airport is currently known for ‘roll and hold’. It’s problem-plagued due to capacity constraints.”
“With such safety problems existing, splitting Caan at this time will put the entire system into mess as infrastructure issues will be diverted completely,” said Shah, who had also served Caan as a director general.
Nagendra Ghimire, former Tourism Secretary and director general of Caan, suggested doing more homework before finalising the new law. He said the draft bill is not clear about the service provider’s role and duty.
“It has given a clear picture about the regulator role, but misses to define the service provider’s role,” said Ghimire, adding such role should be defined clearly by the law so that it will not raise controversy when the new law is enacted.
Hari Bhakta Shrestha, former director general of Caan, said the draft is not clear about the definition of aircraft accident and incident. In regard to the clauses of allowing the private sector to build and operate airports, the draft bill is not clear.
“The bill says the private sector can develop and operate airports after receiving the government’s okay in one clause, but in another clause it says the private sector needs Caan’s approval. It’s a dual policy for the same provision.”
Removing airline representatives from the Caan board is one of the crucial elements of the proposed bill, but private airlines representatives are not satisfied with the provision. “If the private sector representatives are not included in policymaking, then who will address our grievances,” said Pavitra Kumar Karki, president of Airlines Operators Associa-tion of Nepal. “Splitting Caan into two entities will also eliminate the one-window system as we have to travel to both offices to get even flight operation permits.”
Suresh Acharya, joint-secretary of the ministry, said the draft bill has not talked about human resource development and the existence of the civil aviation academy and is even quiet about the ownership of the ongoing airport projects. “It is not clear on the foreign direct investment in airports.”