Wednesday, August 17, 2016

CAAN renewes Simrik Air AOC without licence renewal

In a serious case of aviation safety lapse, the civil aviation regulator – Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) – has renewed Air Operator Certificate (AOC) of Simrik Airlines despite the expiration of the airliner's flying licence 15 months ago.
"How did the CAAN renew the AOC of an airline, whose licence has been expired," questioned a senior CAAN official. "It demands a serious investigation into such safety lapses," he added.
According to the rule, the airline should start the process of renewing its AOC from the CAAN, only after the issuance of the licence.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has given the significant safety concern tag to Nepal’s aviation sector in its audit report in August 2013 on the ground of th country's inability to oversee air safety. Nepal is already under EU black list due to lapses in aviation safety.
The Tourism Ministry is in dilemma over whether or not to renew Simrik Airlines’ flying licence that expired 15 months ago. Ministry officials have been conducting rounds of meetings exploring legal grounds to renew the permit of the airline that has been grounded since Monday, though its licence has expired more than a year ago.
Today, the issue was discussed at the Prime Minister’s Office. "The airline’s flying licence has expired,” tourism secretary Prem Kumar Rai said, adding that the private airliners has now two alternatives; either begin a fresh process to obtain a new licence or convince the minister to table a proposal at the Cabinet to extend the permit in recognition of its contribution to the industry.
The airliner's chairman captain Rameshwor Thapa also runs a newspaper Annapurna Post, apart from being the ex-president of Airlines Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN).
However, such carelessness has once again raised serious safety question on Nepal's sky that has already been under scanner from the European Union (EU). But the ministry officials are waiting for the appointment of a new Tourism Minister to get the issue sorted out.
According to the regulation, domestic airlines must renew their licenses every four years. They have to renew the permit within one year after its expiry. But Simrik Airlines has been flying till Monday without renew the permit for 15 months.
The airline – issuing a press release – said that it was unable to renew its licence due to last year’s earthquakes and subsequent trade embargo. Though, it has apolisised with its customers, it’s a sheer careless in the part of airlines safety.
Simrik Airlines has in its press release also said that it has initiated the process to renew the licence. "The process could be delayed as the minister is yet to be appointed,” the statement reads.
According to ministry officials, it will take at least a week to issue a new licence, if the airline applies for the new licence. However, the airline should pay an additional Rs 600,000 to renew its route permit. The carrier has got permits on 20 domestic routes. The royalty for each route stands at Rs 30,000, which the airlines should pay again. To initiate a fresh licence process, it has to show a bank guarantee of Rs 2 million and should have a paid-up capital of Rs 20 million.

No comments: