Air safety improvement update to be sent to European CommissionNepal is preparing to send the latest update of its air safety improvement to the European Commission (EC) in a bid to have Nepali airlines removed from the air safety list in which they were included four years ago for their poor safety record.
Nepal is preparing to send the latest update of its air safety improvement to the European Commission (EC) in a bid to have Nepali airlines removed from the air safety list in which they were included four years ago for their poor safety record.
In December 2013, the EC imposed a blanket ban on all airlines from Nepal from flying into the 28-nation bloc. The EC has asked European operators and travel agents to inform European travellers who will have a right to reimbursement if they have booked a seat on a Nepali carrier as part of a journey to Nepal and decide not to use it.
The government moved to get Nepali airlines unbanned following a recent International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) audit which has removed the significant safety concerns (SSC) tag from Nepal.
“We have decided to send all the safety updates and progresses that we have made to address deficiencies pointed out by Icao next Sunday to the EC headquarters in Brussels, Belgium,” said Rajan Pokhrel, deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan).
“We may or not be invited to the EC’s annual safety committee meeting scheduled to be held in November. However, we are optimistic that the result will be positive.”
In February, the then foreign minister Prakash Sharan Mahat had requested EC President Jean-Claude Juncker during their meeting in Brussels to remove Nepali airlines from the safety list stating that Nepal had made significant progress.
President Juncker said they would look into the matter positively after studying the facts provided by the government of Nepal. According to Pokhrel, the EC has two or more options. “If it is fully satisfied with Nepal’s progress, it may unban all Nepali airlines. Otherwise, it may be selective or adopt a performance-based assessment under which airlines with a good safety record may be unbanned,” he said. “We are not sure which strategy it will adopt.”
On July 21, Icao removed the SSC tag it had put on Nepal four years ago after assessing that Nepal’s safety standard had not improved on a par with global standards.
The 2013 audit report, a follow-up to the 2009 audit, had pointed out that Nepal’s score of 55.01 percent in effective implementation (EI) of critical elements of safety oversight system was way below the global average of 60 percent.
The latest audit has given Nepal a score of 66 percent for effective implementation of safety standards.
Shree gets Caan nod to test flights
Caan has okayed Shree Airlines to conduct proving or test flights as part of the procedural requirements.
After the test flights, Caan will issue the air operator certificate (AOC) to conduct commercial air transport operations. The regulator said that Shree would get the AOC within two weeks after completing the test flights. The carrier, which is Nepal’s largest helicopter operator, has diversified into fixed-wing operations and recently received another Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) to bring its total fleet of CRJs to three.
Shree has been allotted six sectors: Bhadrapur, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi and mountain flight. The airline has invested Rs2 billion in its expansion project. Currently, it has an international operation licence for its MI-17 helicopters only. Started in 1999, it has six MI-17 and four Eurocopter AS350 B3e helicopters in its fleet.