Nepali Airlines not removed from blacklist of European Commission for air safety

The report of European Commission (EC) on Thursday regarding their updated EU Air Safety List (ASL) has shattered hopes of Nepali airlines to fly into the European skies in the near future.

On Thursday, the European Commission continued its ban on 20 Nepali airlines for not meeting international safety standards. The updated Air Safety List includes 20 Nepali airlines.

However, the listing of Nepali airlines in the updated safety air list by the EU is not the assessment result of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)’s latest observation on Nepal’s aviation safety, according to CAAN officials.

Gyanendra Bhul, information officer at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), said that the latest ICAO mission to Nepal has no relation to the updated list.

“The ICAO had also listed Nepal in the safety list previously due to some concerns regarding safety on December 25, 2013. In the subsequent safety audit conducted by ICAO in 2017, Nepal scored over 66 percent, which was above the average global safety requirement, and removed us from the significant safety concern list.

Although ICAO removed Nepali airlines from the safety list, the same wasn’t followed by the EU due to other concerns.

EU, being a regional organisation, has concerns regarding the safety of its citizens while traveling through specific airlines and has been conducting safety observations and audits from time to time in Nepal.

A team from the EU conducted an assistance mission on airlines conducting rural flights, including Tara Air and Summit Air, from October 6 to 8.

The EU has kept Nepal on its air safety list since 2013 due to which the airline companies registered in Nepal are not allowed to offer direct air connectivity services in the EU member states.

After Sita Air Flight clashed at the Manohara River in September 2012 which killed 19 people, including seven British citizens, the European Commission imposed a ban on all Nepali airlines from flying into the 27 European nations in December 2013.