Why international agency increased interest in Nepal’s aviation Sectors?

In the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) audit report, Nepal has obtained an air safety compliance rate higher than the global level, i.e., 70.1 percent. The final report of the air safety audit conducted by ICAO in Nepal this year was recently released by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

This score obtained by Nepal is above the global average. According to the authority, the aviation safety rate of the Asia Pacific region is 64.5, and the global safety rate is 67 percent. The interest and goodwill of the international community have increased towards this achievement in the air sector of the country.

Recently, multinational agencies have conducted studies and audits on air safety. Raju Shrestha, head of the authority’s Flight safety department, said that it drew the world’s attention to the country’s overall air safety system and sent a message that Nepal’s air safety is good.

“After ICAO’s audit report, the interest and goodwill of international bodies have increased,” he said, “It has given a perfect message, Nepal’s air safety system is good, Nepal has become a strong country due to global aviation compliance rate achieved by Nepal, which is also a matter of pride for the country.”.”

Currently, 20 airlines operate in Nepal, including nine fixed-wing and 11 helicopter companies. There are around 100 aircraft of all types in Nepal. It has about 80 fixed wings aircraft and 40 helicopters. According to the authority, 900 drones have been registered across the country so far.

He mentioned that the increasing interest and goodwill of international bodies in Nepal’s aviation sector is positive and sends a message that Nepal’s civil aviation sector is of global standards. Regarding Nepal’s flight sector, the authority has prioritized improving the country’s flight sector to maintain the country’s flight safety compliance rate of 80 percent with the help of ICAO.

Shrestha said that Nepal has achieved excellent results from ICAO’s audit report and has started homework to eliminate the report’s shortcomings. According to him, after the audit, the authority has arranged a separate budget and manpower for the safety department.

A deputy director general will head the authority’s security directorate to strengthen aviation security. Under that, the provision of non-transfer employees working in the service provider and regulatory sector has been implemented. In recent days, multinational agencies have been conducting studies and audit about aviation safety.

This has drawn the world’s attention to the country’s overall air safety system and increased the confidence of international stakeholders in Nepal’s flight safety, said Jagannath Niraula, spokesperson of the authority. He said, “The interest and goodwill of international bodies in the country’s airspace has sent a message that Nepal’s flight safety system is good.”

A study from a multinational agency

After ICAO’s audit report, one international body after another has studied and discussed Nepal’s airspace. After ICAO’s audit, the European Union (EU) technical team conducted an audit of Nepal’s flight safety system.

From April 12 to 25, the EU team studied Nepal’s air safety compliance. The EU team conducted the study from October 6 to 8. The EU team was excited about the progress made by Nepal.

Soon after, World Bank experts held discussions with senior authorities and aviation industry stakeholders from October 11 to 19. The source said that the said team also expressed satisfaction, saying there is skilled manpower in flight safety enhancement in Nepal.

Last time, from October 20 to 22, a mission of the Federal Aviation Administration, the civil aviation regulatory body of the United States of America, was discussed with the stakeholders of Nepal’s aviation sector.

A study of US regulatory agencies

A team of American regulatory agencies has recently discussed the flight safety situation in Nepal with stakeholders.

FAA’s chief representative for South Asia, Daniel Jacob, discussed Nepal’s flight safety system with expert stakeholders, said Niraula, the authority’s spokesperson.

He mentioned that it is a positive matter for the United States to study Nepal’s flight safety in preparing for an air service agreement between Nepal and the United States.

When will there be an air agreement with the US?

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and the authority are discussing with stakeholders about making a bilateral air agreement for direct air flights with the US.

“A single date has not been decided; the air agreement will be signed in November or December. The draft of the air agreement sent by the US is currently being discussed”, said Niraula, the authority’s spokesperson.

According to the authority, the United States itself has shown interest in signing an air contract with Nepal and sent a draft of the contract. Nepal currently has bilateral air agreements with 41 countries, including 40 countries and the European Union (EU).

EU is positive

The technical team of the EU is positive.

The authority said that the European Aviation Safety Agency’s audit team under the EU has positively responded to Nepal’s overall aviation safety. However, a preliminary program is to report to Nepal on October 28. The EU has kept Nepal blacklisted for the past ten years.

In 2013, ICAO listed Nepali Airlines as a serious security concern, indicating an increased risk in Nepal’s aviation safety. Later in 2017, ICAO removed it from the list, saying that Nepal had made progress.

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