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Nepal is no longer in safety concern list of ICAO: aviation regulator

Jul 23 2017 | 07:16 pm

Kathmandu: Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), aviation regulator of the country, on Friday announced that Nepal has passed a safety audit conducted by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

As a result, the global aviation watchdog has removed significant safety concern (SSC) tag imposed on Nepal’s aviation industry since July 2013. But Nepal is still in the blacklist of the European Commission (EC) since December 2013 after ICAO’s SSC tag.

“We were carrying significant safety concern tag until Yesterday. The red mark over Nepal is now gone,” Sanjeev Gautam, director general of CAAN said on Friday.

CAAN believed that the removal of Nepal from SSC tag would ease Nepal to be removed from the EC blacklist as well.

This will also ease Nepal’s international airlines including the state-owned Nepal Airlines Corporation and privately-owned Himalaya Airlines to expand their flights to new foreign destinations, according to CAAN officials.

These airlines have been planning to reach a few new foreign destinations, but they are struggling to get landing rights because of SSC.

According to a press statement of CAAN, a meeting of SSC Audit Committee of the ICAO on Thursday decided to remove SSC mark from Nepal.

Earlier, a two-member team of ICAO had conducted audit of Nepal’s aviation sector from July 4 to 11. The team had audited Nepal’s compliances in four areas of aviation safety – legislation, organization, operations and airworthiness out of eight critical areas.

Following the completion of audit, the ICAO put Nepal’s compliance rate at 66.08 percent, higher than minimum threshold of 60 percent, according to CAAN.

Following the removal of SSC tag by the ICAO, the CAAN is now preparing to request EC to remove Nepal from its blacklisting. “We will send a letter to the EC early next week,” Gautam said.

Once the EC removes Nepal from its blacklist, it will open the door for Nepal Airlines, which is planning to go Europe after acquiring new planes.

Panipokhari

Kathmandu, Nepal

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