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"ICAO postpones audit of Nepal's aviation standards"

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

ICAO postpones audit of aviation standards
Nepal - The Kathmandu Post

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has postponed the 
much-awaited audit of Nepal's aviation standards as one of the experts is 
indisposed, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) said.

The ICAO Validation Mission (ICVM) had been scheduled to conduct its audit from 
June 6-13. The United Nations aviation watchdog monitors Nepal's aviation 
safety oversight capabilities through the ICAO Coordinated Validation Missions 

The mission is normally invited by a state when it is fully confident that it 
has fulfilled all the compliances with international safety standards. 

"ICAO has informed us of their decision to postpone the ICVM. They have not 
exactly fixed the next audit date, but it will probably be June-end," said 
Birendra Prasad Shrestha, spokesperson for CAAN. 

Based on Nepal's request, ICAO was supposed to send flight operation and air 
worthiness experts.

In July 2013, an ICAO mission visited Nepal to validate the corrective measures 
taken by the country to address the deficiencies pointed out by the global 
aviation watchdog in 2009.

The mission carried out an on-site audit from July 10-16. Unsatisfied with 
Nepal's progress, the UN supervisory body had given the significant safety 
concern (SSC) tag to Nepal's aviation sector in its audit report in August 2013.

It had given a red flag on 'operations', among the eight critical elements of 
safety oversight, due to the large number of aircraft accidents and incidents 
between 2009 and 2012 when there were at least two passenger aircraft crashes 

Nepal had performed poorly in effectively implementing air safety oversight 
systems, appearing way down among 46 Asian countries. As a consequence of the 
audit report, the European Commission (EC) on December 5, 2013 put all Nepali 
carriers in its bad books for the worst record of air safety oversight.

There are eight critical elements that ICAO considers essential for a state to 
establish, implement and maintain in order to have an effective national safety 
oversight system. They include primary aviation legislation, Organisation and 
safety oversight functions, personnel licensing, aircraft operations, 
airworthiness of aircraft, aerodromes, air navigation system and accident and 
incident investigation.

Among the eight critical elements, the mission will audit four 
areas-legislation, Organisational, operations and airworthiness.

Although, CAAN had requested ICAO for an audit in all areas, accident and 
incident investigation were not included due to the unsatisfactory progress 
made by Nepal. Likewise, ICAO did not deem it necessary to do an audit in three 
other areas-personnel licensing, navigation system and aerodromes-as Nepal has 
performed well in them, CAAN said.  CAAN decided to invite the audit mission 
after getting the go-ahead from the Combined Action Team (CAT) of ICAO's Asia 
and Pacific office in Bangkok which has helped it in its evaluation and 
preparations. A six-member CAT mission provided assistance to CAAN from 
November 22-25 last year.

International airlines and travellers hesitate to travel to a country whose air 
safety has been questioned by ICAO.
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