The government has been working on to split Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) into two entities, one to work as regulator and another as a service provider.
The proposed Civil Aviation Act 2014 – prepared by a Spanish consultancy firm INECO with Asian Development Bank’s $ 4.2 million – is expected to facilitate stringent enforcement of safety measures following the European Union’s (EU) black listing.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme has also recommended CAAN to bifurcate the authority to make the aviation sector more efficient and reliable.
Currently, CAAN has been operating both as a regulator and service provider under Civil Aviation Act 1959 and Nepal Civil Aviation Authority Act 1996.
However, the old Acts donot cover the current issues relating to the safety oversight.
The old Acts also do not provide a clear legal basis for inspection, regulation and certification in civil aviation industry, according to the ICAO report.
The proposed Act – that has recommended more power to the CAAN chief – will also help authority streamline its activities, and maintain healthy relation with Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. The safety audit has also blamed the tussle between the authority and ministry for the poor aviation safety.
Due to poor oversight including monitoring and supervision, the report has placed Nepal among the 12 worst performing nations – Botswana, Kazakhstan, Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Angola, Djibouti, Eritrea, Haiti, Lebanon, Malawi and Papua New Guinea – hurting the national pride.
ICAO has also red-flagged Nepal on ‘operations’ among the eight critical elements of aviation safety.
In August 2013, ICAO had identified a significant safety concern on Nepal’s ability to properly oversee the airlines under its jurisdiction.
Likewise, European Commission (EC) had – on December 5, 2013 – also put Nepal on the European Union (EU) air safety list as it found Nepal lacking the ability to oversee aviation safety issues.
Menawhile, the authority is preparing to send its report on the improvements carried out in the aviation sector lately to the EC to aks it to lift the ban on Nepali airlines. The commission has given the authority September 15 deadline to submit the report.
The EC’s Aviation Safety Committee meeting in November will reassess the report and decide whether the ban on Nepali carriers to fly within the EU should be withdrawn or continue.

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