China says will not conduct safety audit of NAC

Kathmandu, December 3

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has withdrawn its decision to conduct a safety audit of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) hinting that it may allow the national flag carrier to operate flights to China.

Earlier, CAAC had prevented NAC from operating flights to China citing the ‘air safety concerns’ raised by the European Union. Back then, CAAC had refused to allow NAC for flight operations to China unless it had conducted a safety audit of NAC.

However, officials of CAAC have informed the country manager of NAC for China that it will now directly start procedures to give flight permission.

“Today we received a mail from our country manager in China that CAAC has withdrawn its decision of conducting safety audit of NAC,” said Deepu Jwarchan, flight operation director of NAC. “However, we are yet to receive the information officially from CAAC. Hopefully, they will send an official letter within a few days.”

He further said that this is a green signal for NAC that it will likely receive permission from CAAC to fly to China.

NAC had applied to operate regular flights to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in China.

Earlier, CAAC had decided to conduct safety audit in October, however, recently it postponed the date for the audit to December. CAAC had raised a few questions regarding technical issues and operations manual of NAC, which have already been submitted to CAAC.

Based on the recently revised air services agreement between Nepal and China, the national flag carrier will operate three flights a week to Guangzhou. As per the revised pact signed in Beijing in July, Nepali airlines have been allowed to operate 98 flights a week in 15 airports located at seven cities of China — Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Lhasa, Chengdu, Kunming and Shiyan. NAC is also making an effort to operate commercial flights to Beijing and Shanghai.

Meanwhile, NAC is also conducting a study to operate commercial flights to Dhaka in Bangladesh; Yangon in Myanmar; Hanoi in Vietnam; Phnom Penh in Cambodia and Colombo in Sri Lanka.

Prior to this, Himalaya Airlines has already started operating flights to Beijing Daxing International Airport and Guiyang Longdongbao International Airport in China from October and November, respectively.