Nepal | May 25, 2020

CAAN not prioritising employee development and training

Rajan Pokhrel
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  • There are no training related units within the authority’s organisational structure

Kathmandu, August 9

The statutory autonomy of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has been a boon to its permanent staff, both line and management, stakeholders have said.

While purposefully not allowing the Nepal Airlines Corporation to lease an Airbus from Bhutan airlines and causing avoidable hardships to the flag carrier and passengers on grounds of extant provisions of the civil aviation policy-2063 on prohibition against importing aircraft older than 15 years, it chose to close to its eyes by allowing a new airline to fly in three Canadair Regional Jets.

Perhaps, in CAAN, the terms flight safety and import assume dual meanings, an NAC executive commented.

Clearly, the civil aviation policy is not a regulation per se, but its contents have been selectively used by CAAN managers rather adroitly time and again, often for the sheer convenience of political party in charge of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, he added.

“Barely off the red list of International Civil Aviation Organisation, thanks to the ICAO-deputed specialists in Nepal for over a year-long coaching of its experts, who had more expertise in jumping on the next available international flight at the operators’ expenses rather than preparing adequate safety documentation, CAAN’s flight safety department is soon likely to return to its wayward ways.”

Similarly, the policy provisions on the development of competent, professional manpower for civil aviation continue to be trampled upon by the CAAN higher-ups with impunity. “There is no discipline in this purportedly multi-disciplinary organisation, which is self-sufficient in expertise, despite fulfilment of all the higher professional positions — through promotions or direct recruitment,” an aviation expert commented.

There are no training related units within the authority’s organisational structure that caters to the training related needs of civil and electrical engineers that form the backbone of aerodrome operations and oversight, a senior CAAN director admitted.

“Perhaps, the compelling reason for this is the policy of outsourcing all related engineering tasks — project conception, preparation of technical specifications and bid documents, evaluation of bids, and even supervision of civil works. The contractors take care of the everything, and only the technical task of writing cheques is withheld for oversight purposes,” he explained, referring to the unending fiascoes at Tribhuvan International Airport improvement project and Gautam Buddha International Airport project, despite the Asian Development Bank oversight.

The task of nominating it officers for foreign training and outings is more of a joke where individuals with influence continue to be sent on training and seminars worldwide in fields diametrically opposite to their current areas of responsibility, the director observed.

“The sheer preponderance of CAAN officials trained on safety management, air crash investigation, instrument procedure design, and aviation security contrasts with the long existent deficiencies in the respective fields, thanks to the policy of sharing the spoils as if there is no tomorrow,” said the aviation expert.

A MoCTCA official revealed that the number of deputy-director general level positions within CAAN, six to be precise, for less than a total of 1,000 employees, has left them with little responsibility except world travel on irrelevant issues at the drop of a hat.

“The position is meant to be enjoyed. After all they waited their lifetime for it” he quipped.

A version of this article appears in print on August 10, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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