Nepal | May 27, 2020

Aviation safety continues to be neglected

Rajan Pokhrel
Share Now:

Kathmandu, May 26

At a time when the Minister for Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari is about to embark on his maiden trip to the headquarters of International Civil Aviation Organisation early next month to receive the ICAO Council president certificate for remarkable achievements in civil aviation in 2017, things actually do not appear rosy at home, stakeholders said.

The minister alighting from a Shree Airlines CRJ700 aircraft for the inaugural flight on Thursday at Rajbiraj airport, where heavy construction equipment including asphalt plant were placed adjacent to the runway, clearly shows the utter lack of safety awareness by the airlines and the aerodrome operator-cum-air safety regulator, according to officials. As per ICAO safety regulation, the area around an active runway must be clear of obstacles lest the aircraft experience a runway excursion during landing or take-off and collide with it.

Interestingly, safety compliance is the last thing on the incumbent minister’s mind as he advocates the same relentlessly for media coverage. Tribhuvan International Airport started 21-hour operation early this week. Here, too, according to sources, safety assessment,  including effect of fatigue on operational personnel, for extending the operations hour was not undertaken, as mandated by ICAO stipulations.

Clearly, the CAAN trade unions and quasi-unions like the controllers’ association were also simply interested in getting themselves additional incentive that the minister obliged, while consigning air safety concerns to a back seat, a senior CAAN official shared. Similarly, the recent fatal crash of a Cessna-208 near Simikot once again harshly bears the hallmark of the controlled flight into terrain, a type of accident that has plagued Nepal’s aviation for long now.

“In the aftermath, as usual, yet another investigation commission has been instituted headed by a former CAAN director general with a ministry joint-secretary as the member secretary of the commission,” a MoCTCA official said, adding that the findings and probable cause for this investigation, that doesn’t inspire confidence, too, were a foregone conclusion — flight crew’s decision to enter instrument meteorological conditions without adequate safeguards in place. “Interestingly, when the member secretary has his hands full investigating the US-Bangla crash, having recently visited Canada for the purported decoding of the black-boxes that were supposed to contain the truth pertaining to the crash, his attention to a less sensational crash is clearly suspect,” he added.

Besides, in the absence of publication of any new bulletin on new developments by the US-Bangla probe commission, it is abundantly clear that the aircraft didn’t suffer any malfunction and the crew was not under the effect of any psychoactive substance. “Otherwise, an interim recommendation would have been promptly shot off to prevent the re-occurrence of another crash,” an aviation expert shared.

The investigation is headed for a ‘human factors’ angle, a discipline in which expertise is not available in the third world and therefore the findings and the probable cause of the crash will be a bone of contention between Nepal and Bangladesh, he quipped.

A version of this article appears in print on May 27, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Gharial crocodiles, Chitwan National Park

Ghariyal journeys 1,062 km to Hoogli

Chitwan, May 25 A gharial released in a river in Nepal has travelled over a thousand kilometres in the past two months. It was found in a river in India. According to Chitwan National Park Assistant Conservation Officer Bed Bahadur Khadka, a gharial with tagged number 687, which was released i Read More...

Inmates at risk of contracting coronavirus in Kathmandu valley

Kathmandu, May 25 About a month ago on April 22, two nurses working in the country’s largest prison at Sundhara tested positive for COVID -19 under the rapid diagnostic test. The test result sent a wave of panic among the 25,087 jailbirds, including 773 juveniles and additional 773 infants l Read More...

Strong winds wreak havoc in Rautahat

Rautahat, May 25 Strong winds destroyed properties worth millions of rupees in different parts of Rautahat district last night. Power supply was obstructed in the local level after the utility poles were broken. Two mango trees fell on houses due to the strong wind following rainfall at Read More...

Armyworm severely affects maize production

Kathmandu, May 25 The American armyworm has severely affected maize farming across the country this year as compared to previous year, hitting farmers who have already had to bear the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic. According to Centre for Crop Development and Agro Bio-Diversity Conservatio Read More...

Budget expectations

The government is all set to announce the budget for next fiscal year on Thursday and people involved in different sectors have various expectations. Amid this, The Himalayan Times spoke to a few tourism entrepreneurs who were not satisfied with the government’s policies and programmes to learn ab Read More...

Over 10,000 Nepalis enter country from Jamunaha border point in four days

NEPALGUNJ: Over 10,000 Nepalis have entered the country from Jamunaha border point in Banke district amid nationwide lockdown imposed by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19. A large number of migrant workers returning from India have been gathering at the border point with the easing of Read More...

UN virus therapy trial pauses hydroxychloroquine testing

GENEVA: The World Health Organization said Monday that it will temporarily drop hydroxychloroquine — the anti-malarial drug US President Trump says he is taking — from its global study into experimental COVID-19 treatments, saying that its experts need to review all available evidence to date. Read More...

PMEP to be promoted as major source of employment next fiscal

Kathmandu, May 25 The government is preparing to promote the Prime Minister Employment Programme (PMEP) as the major source of employment for those who have lost or will lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 and for returnee migrant workers through the budget for the next fiscal year. The Minist Read More...