08 August 2017 | Arjun Rijal
Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), aviation regulator of the country has announced that Nepal has finally passed a safety audit conducted by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). This now means that Nepal’s aviation industry is now free from a safety concern (SSC) tag imposed by global aviation watch dog since 2013. So, this opens the door for Nepalese 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 expand their flights to a few new foreign destinations, but they were 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 later.