European Commission maintains ban on Nepali airlinesThe carriers remain on the updated EU Air Safety List for failing safety requirements and are barred from EU skies.
The EU has been off-limits to Nepali carriers for the last six years. In December 2013, the European Commission imposed a blanket ban on all airlines from Nepal from flying into the 28-nation bloc.
On Monday, the European Commission updated the list stating that the EU Air Safety List seeks to ensure the highest level of air safety for Europeans and all other passengers travelling in the EU.
The European Commission has removed all airlines certified in Gabon from the list following improvements to the aviation safety situation in that country. Gabon was put on the list in 2008. The Armenian Civil Aviation Committee has been put under heightened scrutiny because of signs of a decrease in safety oversight.
Following Monday’s update, a total of 115 airlines are banned from EU skies, including Nepal. The European Commission said that the update of the list was based on a unanimous decision of aviation safety experts from the member states who met from November 20-21 under the auspices of the EU Air Safety Committee. This committee is chaired by the European Commission with the support of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.
According to officials at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, the European Commission had asked that the Civil Aviation Authority be fragmented with a clear demarcation of its powers and responsibilities because its dual functions gave rise to a conflict of interest.
Last February, the Tourism Ministry informed the ambassadors of different European countries, including the ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Nepal, about the progress achieved in breaking up the Civil Aviation Authority into two entities, which they said was a prerequisite to removing Nepal from the EU Air Safety List.
“The Tourism Ministry has submitted a draft of the Civil Aviation Bill that envisages separation of Nepal’s civil aviation body into two entities—service provider and regulator—to the Cabinet for approval to be tabled in Parliament,” said Rajan Pokhrel, director general at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.
“The European Commission is waiting for institutional reform. If Parliament endorses the bill, we will be able to invite a mission from the commission for Nepal’s aviation assessment,” he said.
According to Pokhrel, they plan to invite the mission of the European Commission or the European Union Aviation Safety Agency by March if the law is passed by Parliament.
On July 21, 2017, the International Civil Aviation Organisation removed the 'significant safety concerns' tag it had put on Nepal four years ago after assessing that Nepal’s safety standards had improved on a par with global standards.