Cabinet asks MoCTCA to finalise acts to split CAAN

Kathmandu, July 25

The Cabinet has directed Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) to frame separate acts to split the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) into two autonomous bodies — regulatory body and air navigation service provider.

The Cabinet meeting on Monday has principally agreed to allow the ministry to draft regulatory body act and air navigation service provider act for the two entities.

Earlier, the Cabinet meeting, on September 22, had given permission to the MoCTCA to divide CAAN into two different bodies. On receiving the permission to split the aviation regulatory body, the MoCTCA and CAAN had established an act implementation committee to implement the decision.

Furthermore, the MoCTCA and CAAN have jointly prepared two separate drafts of the two necessary acts. “We have already prepared the drafts of the two acts,” said Ghanashyam Upadhyaya, joint secretary at MoCTCA.

According to him, the MoCTCA will soon forward the drafts of the acts to the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport for feedback and further suggestions.

Lack of improvement in safety oversight by the country’s aviation regulator has led the European Commission to continue its ban on all Nepali airlines from flying within the 28-nation bloc of the European Union. Mentioning that the European Aviation Agency found no change in the country’s six-year-old status as far as air safety is concerned, the commission stated that all Nepali air carriers were still prohibited from flying into the EU.

The EC blacklisted Nepal, placing restrictions on Nepali airlines, for the first time in 2013 immediately after the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) raised significant safety concerns. The ICAO, however, removed Nepal’s aviation sector from its safety list in July 2017.

“The government has placed the issue of splitting CAAN into two separate entities in its priority list and the MoCTCA will soon forward the drafts to the Cabinet for its final approval. After that, the drafts will be tabled in the Parliament for final endorsement,” Upadhyaya informed, adding that after the drafts are endorsed by the Parliament, they will come into implementation.

The government had formally announced in 2012 to split CAAN into two separate autonomous entities, but not much had happened on that front till date.

CAAN was established 21 years ago and it has its own Civil Aviation Act. As per the act, it has been working on aviation services and safety, air transport and surveillance as well as the development of airport infrastructure.

Nepal is the only country where the government not only frames the laws but also operates airlines, airports, air navigation services and conducts other aviation monitoring activities.

CAAN informed that it has provided all necessary feedback and suggestions to the ministry on how the regulatory body could be split.

“It is the duty of the state to implement the safety standards, policies, and guidelines as per ICAO standards. We have and will further help the ministry for the formulation of the new acts,” said a high-level official of CAAN, seeking anonymity, adding that after splitting CAAN, the country’s aviation safety and security will be at par with the global standards.