Nepal | June 04, 2020

ICAO Day marked with much gusto, keeping air safety shortcomings under wraps

Rajan Pokhrel
Share Now:

Kathmandu, December 8

The zeal and fervour with which the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) celebrate December 7 as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Day contrasts starkly with that used to implement critical ICAO provisions on air safety in Nepal.

The ICAO Day celebrations, not only limited to paid advertisements in some broadsheets, was also marked by a minister-led walkathon to the sole international airport and a workshop ending with a late night cocktail dinner at an upscale hotel.

A review of online publications not only in South Asia, but also Thailand, where ICAO Asia-Pacific regional office is based, and Canada which houses the ICAO’s headquarters, however, find no mention of the ICAO Day celebrations, let alone full-page paid adverts.

This clearly shows that Nepal’s practice has remained unique and essentially transmogrified into an alibi for wining and dining on a cold winter night, according to stakeholders.

On the other hand, the prevailing aviation practices in Nepal are certain to cause heartburn in the European Union if not the ICAO. For instance, the investigation procedure after the recent tragic crash of Lion Air B737-Max in Indonesia provides an interesting contrast with the prevailing practices of air crash investigation in Nepal.

“For instance, in Indonesia, within a week of recovering the flight data recorders from the sea floor the entire readout as well as analysis conducted in Jakarta was in the public domain. However, the black boxes of the US Bangla flight 211 crash in Kathmandu were held for months by MoCTCA investigators as they took time to choose a facility from among several options abroad to take the black boxes for investigation,” a senior ministry official shared.

Though a relevant ICAO standard specifically requires timely dissemination of information pertaining to crash investigations, the US Bangla crash investigation report, whose parts were leaked, is still out of public domain, according to the official.

Though CAAN’s regulations warrant aviation service providers like airline operators to identify a high-ranking executive who can be held accountable for safety lapses, it is strangely unwilling to itself identify an executive within its
organisation who can be held responsible for failing ICAO audits earlier that has resulted in the ignominious significant safety concern tag for four years and the continuing European Commission’s ban called the air safety list, a source at CAAN added.

Aviation experts believe the EC’s continued demurral on the prevailing state of Nepal’s aviation safety oversight clearly points towards incompetence of CAAN regulatory executives in performing their tasks effectively and efficiently.

“There is nothing that prevents CAAN safety inspectors for aerodromes and control tower services from performing their critical duties dispassionately even if it leads to airport closure on safety grounds except fear of retribution by their future bosses or expectations of favour in terms of attractive posting and foreign jaunts,” an expert told The Himalayan Times.

Officially, Nepal Airlines Corporation is outside CAAN’s organisation structure, and yet enforcement actions are not being taken by CAAN due to sheer ineptness, an airline executive said. “Else, what could be preventing CAAN from suspending NAC’s air operator certificate for its continued inability to close non-trivial safety findings that have forestalled the Korean Civil Aviation Authority’s safety audit leading to flights to Incheon airport by its idle wide-body Airbus-330 jets?” he questioned.

A version of this article appears in print on December 09, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:


Brazil sets another record for daily coronavirus deaths

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil registered another record number of novel coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Tuesday evening, as the pandemic in Latin America's largest country shows no signs of slowing down. The nation registered 28,936 additional cases of the nove Read More...

High-level panel to decide on easing lockdown by tomorrow

KATHMANDU, JUNE 2 The High-Level Coordination Committee for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 formed under Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence Ishwar Pokharel will decide in a day or two whether or not to ease the lockdown. Member Secretary of the committee Narayan Prasad Bi Read More...

FIFA adds voice to protests over Floyd's death

BERN: World soccer's governing body FIFA has joined sports leagues, teams and players around the globe to express solidarity amid outrage over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in police custody in the United States. The National Football League, National Hockey League an Read More...

Nepal's ruling party stresses dialogue with India to resolve territorial dispute 

Kathmandu, June 2  Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker Narayan Kaji Shrestha urged India to sit for dialogue with Nepal to resolve Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani issues. He welcomed Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's remark about resolving border disputes with Nepal through dia Read More...

Nepali Congress registers statute amendment bill 

Kathmandu, June 2 The main opposition Nepali Congress today registered a private constitution amendment bill at the Parliament Secretariat seeking to change the constitution's provisions related to citizenship, language, provincial boundaries and formation of a boundary commission. Eight Nepal Read More...

Dhangadi  quarantine

Quarantines in Sudurpaschim bursting at seams 

Dhangadhi, June 2  With the increasing number of returnees from India, the quarantine facilities in Sudupaschim Province are almost packed. The number of migrant workers returning home from India is increasing every day. According to Kailali District Administration Office, around 5,000 Read More...

Nine businessmen held for gambling, remanded to custody 

Kathmandu, June 2 Nine businessmen, some of whom are ‘well-known faces’ in the business fraternity, were sent to five-day police custody after being arrested from a gambling den last night. Deputy Superintendent of Police Raj Kumar KC, also the spokesperson for Metropolitan Police Range,  Read More...

PCR tests of all quarantined persons fraught with problems 

Kathmandu, June 2  The Ministry of Health and Population said that implementing the Supreme Court’s order to conduct tests for coronavirus on all quarantined persons across the country using polymerase chain reaction method was a daunting task. Earlier, the Supreme Court had issued an order Read More...