December 1: The European Union (EU) has maintained the ban imposed on the Nepali airline companies from flying in the European skies.
The EU has banned Nepali airline companies from flying in its airspace since December 2013 citing safety concerns.
The EU on Thursday published a list of the countries and the airline companies that have banned due to safety concerns.
According to the list, the aircraft of all airlines of Nepal will not allowed to fly in European skies.
In the past, the EU had argued that it banned the Nepali airlines companies due to the failure of the Government of Nepal to split the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) into two entities – a regulatory body and a service provider.
This time, the EU has mentioned that it has not removed the Nepali airliners from the blacklist due to the weakness on security compliance of two airline companies.
CAAN Spokesperson Jagannath Niraula confirmed that the EU has maintained the list of security restrictions this time as well.
“This time, the EU did not point out the weakness of the authority,” he said, adding that the Nepali airliners were not removed from the blacklist because of the weaknesses of the airline companies.
A delegation of the EU had conducted an on-site audit of Nepali airline companies from September 11 to 15 and found some shortcomings in the state-owned Nepal Airlines Company and Shree Airlines.
Niraula said that the problems shown in these two companies would be rectified and progress reports would be sent periodically to the EU. He added that the CAAN will now instruct Nepal Airlines and Shree Airlines to improve the shortcomings shown by the EU.
After conducting the audit in September, the EU prepared a report recommending continuation of the ban on Nepali airline companies. The report mentions that Nepal Airlines and Shree Airlines do not meet the safety standards.
The report further mentions that the restrictions have been kept in place due to the weaknesses and non-compliance of the instructions given by the regulator, lack of flight schedule management, flight time limitation, flight plan among others.
It may be noted that the Nepal Airlines Corporation on Wednesday preponed its scheduled flight to the UAE from 11:30 PM to 9:30 PM without any prior notice just for the convenience of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who was to travel to the Gulf state to attend the COP summit on the same flight. It led inconvenience to other passengers who were not informed about the decision to prepone the flight. As a result, 31 passengers missed the flight. Later, the flag carrier of Nepal issued a public apology and pledged to accommodate those who missed the flight in the next flight.