Lack of progress in making a law to split Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) as promised has made European Commission (EC) dissatisfied.
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) previously removed Nepali carrier from significant safety Concern (SSC) and CAAN had also submitted documents to EC with evidence about improvement made in Nepali air safety during a meeting in Brussels, Belgium.
EC also agreed to dispatch a technical team to Nepal to check on Nepal’s air safety and prepare report subsequently to decide whether to remove Nepal from blacklist on its air safety.
The dissatisfaction from EC has raised doubt about Nepali Carriers getting removed from their air safety list any time soon in near future.
CAAN is currently functioning as both regulator and service provider with no clear differentiation over their duties and responsibilities. Civil Aviation Minister Rabindra Adhikari had promised to complete the process to split the CAAN by enacting draft Integrated Civil Aviation Bill last June but no progress was seen.
However, the bill is expected to be submitted to the cabinet by October which if passed by parliament will replace the Civil Aviation Act 1959 and Nepal Civil Aviation Authority Act 1996. This will make CAAN act as a regulator while a separate Airport and Air Navigation Services will be set up to operate as a service provider.
While the service provider (CAAN) will be responsible for licensing and regulating aviation professionals and pilots, engineers, air traffic controllers, airlines and aerodromes, the service provider will be responsible for airport management, terminal management, ground handling, airport security, rescue and firefighting, airport infrastructure development, airport fee and tax collection and air traffic control.
EC banned Nepali carriers preventing them from flying to Europe’s Air Space. ICAO had suggested splitting CAAN to make the aviation sector more efficient and the government has been working to amend the new law for about a decade now.