Nepal | May 25, 2020

Process of splitting CAAN in limbo

Umesh Poudel
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Kathmandu, May 24

The government has been delaying the process of dividing the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) into two separate entities — regulatory body and air navigation services provider.

In 2012, the government had formally announced that CAAN would be divided into two separate autonomous entities, but till date not much has happened on that front.

The government had said it would create two entities by dividing CAAN so as to improve the regulatory mechanism and also to develop civil aviation infrastructure. However, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) — the parent ministry of CAAN — has not taken any concrete step to that effect.

“We had framed a draft regarding splitting CAAN and forwarded it to the Cabinet, but it was sent back to us citing that we had missed some technical details,” said Buddhisagar Lamichhane, joint secretary of MoCTCA. He added that the ministry had forwarded the draft document to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs for further feedback but there has been no response till date.

CAAN was established 20 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.

“The government should introduce appropriate laws and split CAAN into two separate entities as soon as possible,” said Dinesh Shrestha, former general manager of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).

“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,” he added. “The proper practice would be to separate CAAN into different entities.”

“It is very important to create two separate entities as there is a policy at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) that promotes autonomy for the air navigation services provider, and its separation from the regulatory oversight function,” Shrestha stated.

According to him, this delay in splitting CAAN has directly affected the entire civil aviation sector and also created a bad image of the nation.

As per Rajan Pokharel, deputy general manager of CAAN, the MoCTCA is keen on separating CAAN and has also taken suggestions from the regulatory body regarding that. “It is the duty of the state to implement the safety standards, policies, and guidelines as per ICAO standards and industry best practices as applicable,” he added. “And this is one of the main reasons why CAAN needs to be separated into two different entities so that the safety and security standards that are required as per global aviation standards can be maintained.”

A version of this article appears in print on May 25, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

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