Jumbo Nepali team doesn't have original paper for ICAO gala

KATHMANDU: In response to the news regarding an 11-member jumbo delegation from Nepal flying to Canada to attend a two-week triennial General Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Montreal, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) said it would be presenting three working papers in the global jamboree.

Along with an official statement by the head of the delegation, CAAN’s Deputy Director General Rajan Pokhrel wrote to THT making a claim that Nepal was going to present three working papers and one information paper. The ICAO documents, on the other hand, reveal that Nepal would not be presenting any original papers to share the country’s unique rendezvous with air safety.

ICAO has only enlisted Nepal along other 22 countries, from Argentina to the United Kingdom, to jointly own-up a working paper entitled ‘Civil aviation cyber-security: Possible actions by regulators and stakeholders’ to be discussed under the ‘Aviation Security –Policy’ agenda of the 39th Assembly.

Nepal is one among 28 nations and three organisations to present a joint paper -- 'Enhancing air cargo security training'.

Third working paper titled 'ICAO universal safety oversight audit programme continuous monitoring approach – proposal for a post-implementation review' will also be presented by 12 countries including Australia, Bangladesh, Chile, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Singapore, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Though Nepal has failed to present its own working paper to share its unique experiences, China would be presenting a paper on safe operation at ‘plateau airports’ that are akin to Nepali remote airports, but allow larger aircraft to operate with a superior safety record.

Nepal has superior experiences in investigation involving aircraft operating in unfriendly terrain and capricious weather or its efforts to get over ICAO’s safety concerns and the European Union's operation ban. Nepal has blown its chance of sharing its experiences on the 2015 Turkish Airline crash-landing, which happened while operating solely on GPS during instrument approach to Kathmandu.

An information paper that the Nepali team, led by Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Jiban Bahadur Shahi, would be presenting to ICAO on ‘Aviation safety and air navigation implementation support'. Interestingly, the paper has held responsible for most of the accidents that occurred with small Turbo-prop aircraft in the last 10 years.

“The accident reports have revealed that had pilot diverted back instead of giving continuity his flight despite of encountering bad weather, many such accidents could have averted,” the paper said, “Human error associated with pilot judgment is behind the cause of most accidents in Nepal,” the paper reads. It further said that among the 11 accidents of turbo-prop aeroplanes relating to the schedule operations, six were fatal with 134 people killed.

“Civil aviation sector has been tirelessly resilient in resolving serious safety issues raised by ICAO and the European Union in recent times, including deficiencies identified by ICAO during its validation mission in July 2013,” the deputy director general added.

The jumbo Nepali team includes three joint secretaries – Suresh Acharya and Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane of MoCTCA and Buddhi Bahadur Khadka of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, CAAN’s Director General Sanjiv Gautam, Deputy DG Rajan Pokhrel, Board Director Iswari Paudel, Tribhuvan International Airport's General Manager Devanand Upadhyay and Nepal Airlines Corporation's Managing Director Sugat Ratna Kansakar.

Moreover, Upadhyay and Paudel will be flying to Canada along with their spouses.