Simrik Airlines All Aircraft Grounded; Failure Of “AOC” Renewal; Air Kasthamandap Operation Precarious
Kathmandu – 16 August 2016
Simrik Airlines whose Air Approval Certificate has not been renewed since 15 months has put a halt in operation of all its aircraft. It’s fleet consist of four fixed wing aircraft of 2 Dornier 228 series and 2 Beechcraft 1900C series aircraft.
Simrik Airlines had operated under the approval of Ministry and Air Operator Certificate (AOC) valid for 4 years but it had been flying even after 15 months of the expiry of the approval. The renewal date of approval could be extended till one year but Simrik Airlines has not shown any attention towards its renewal and has been operating illegally since 3 months even after 1 year of expiry of the approval without permission according to an official from Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.
Simrik Airlines now will be able to get approval as a new airline only for which it will need to present 20 million Nepali Rupees as its capital, 2 million rupees as bank guarantee and 10 thousand rupees as application charge. In addition to that it will need to fulfill amount of rupees 30 thousands per sector it will fly in coming days. Simrik Airlines was flying to the sectors of Pokhara, Jomsom, Bhairawa, Lukla, Simara and mountain flights from its hub in Kathmandu.
In case of fulfilling all the requirements after proposing as a new airline only the Simrik Airlines can come in operation and it has been expected that it would take minimum of 20 days to complete this process once initiated. All the requirements need to be minutely analyzed before it is reissued the approval and the process takes time, he added.
Any airline operating aircraft in Nepal are required to obtain permission from the Ministry as well as the regulating body which is Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). Any airline should have obtained AOC from CAAN and approval from the Ministry. The AOC it had from CAAN also expired last month and CAAN extended its renewal time till Saturday but still the airlines was unable to renew the AOC too due to which there was no other option than holding the flights of this airline in ground.
The AOC certificate of any airline is renewed by CAAN each year after auditing the financial, technical and safety standards of the airline with payment of sum of two hundred and 50 thousand rupees to the CAAN. AOC is the ICAO level international permission of the operation whereas the approval given by the Ministry is the national level approval.
Simrik Airlines has been grounded just because of failure in paper procedures this time and not because of any issue in safety standards. And the airlines claims that the trouble has been worsened by the political change and change of Tourism minister and also expects that everything will be solved till Tuesday in case of appointment of new minister.
Air Operator Certificate (AOC) renewal for a single engine operator company Air Kasthamandap has been discounted by Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) considering the very weak technical aspect of the airline. After this the company which has only one single engine PAC 750 XSTOL aircraft left will not be able to fly anywhere. After the crash of other one in Kalikot the management of the company has also been largely deteriorated and the company is in no point of existence according to an official.
He informed that an aircraft that is grounded being technical could not be fixed due to lack of maintenance personnel which concluded that there was no point of renewing its AOC, he added. So is nothing possible until it improves it technical aspect and until it brings its aircraft in Nepalgunj that has been grounded since long to proper serviceable condition soon.