Friday, July 21, 2017

Nepal passes ICAO air safety audit

Nepal has passed a safety audit conducted by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), whichhas led to removal of Nepali airline companies from the Significant Security Concerns (SSC) list of the global aviation watchdog.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) today informed that the ICAO formally notified Nepal that the 'significant safety concern' (SSC) issued to Nepal in July 2013 has been resolved. Meanwhile, the CAAN also clarified that Nepali airlines are yet to be removed from the Air Safety list of European Commission (EC).
The ICAO has removed Nepal from its Significant Safety Concern list," CAAN director general Sanjiv Gautam said, adding that EC has but yet not removed from its Air Safety list. "Nepal will however appeal EC to remove from the list based on the ICAO decision, though there is a slim chance of removal just because of this report.
CAAN is however planning to send a request letter along with the latest ICAO audit report to the EC within a couple of weeks, CAAN informed in the press meet.
The SSC validation committee meeting held in July 20 in ICAO headquarters in Montreal, Canada has decided to resolve the SSC after studying the two-member report from Nepal. ICAO had sent a two-member audit team including Captain Eugene Voundri and Aeronautical Engineer Edmund Bohland earlier from July 4 to 11 to study aviation laws and situation of flight operations here. The team had audited aviation legislation, flight operations, personnel licensing and air worthiness of Nepal’s aviation sector. They had also conducted field observation of national flag carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) along with Himalayan Airlines. " The audit report states that Nepal succeeded to meet the ICAO standards," he said, adding that Nepal’s compliance rate was 66.08 per cent, higher than ICAO’s mandatory compliance rate of 60 per cent, according to the report.
The ICAO usually conducts audits of eight elements of aviation including primary aviation legislation, specific operating regulations, safety oversight functions, technical personnel qualification and training, provision of safety critical information, licensing and certification, surveillance obligations, and resolution of safety concerns.
ICAO monitors Nepal’s aviation safety oversight capabilities through the ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM). The mission is generally invited by a state when it is fully confident that it has fully complied with the international safety standards.
In July 2013, an ICAO mission visited Nepal to validate the corrective measures taken by the country to address the deficiencies pointed out by the global aviation watchdog in 2009. But having found detected several lapses during the on-site audit held from July 10-16, the UN supervisory body had given the significant safety concern (SSC) tag to Nepal’s aviation sector in its audit report in August 2013. The global aviation body had included Nepal in its bad books in 2013 after it was unsatisfied with the progress made by Nepal to make its airspace safe.
Following the SSC, the European Commission (EC) had in December 2013 blacklisted all Nepali carriers for the worst record of air safety oversight. But CAAN officials said they are optimistic that EC would lift Nepali carriers from its safety blacklist in the upcoming safety committee meeting to be held in Brussels, Belgium this November.

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