CAAN ‘doing its bit’ to ensure air safety

KATHMANDU: Ensuring aviation safety still remains a major challenge, as the country’s sole aviation regulatory body has been recording safety violation incidents every year in terms of flight standards and operation and airworthiness of planes.

Detailed statistics on air safety violations and action taken to enforce air safety, obtained by this daily, show that Airworthiness Inspection Division, Flight Operations Section and Flight Standards and Licensing Division of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal grounded aircraft, removed captains, engineers, crew members, aviation maintenance technicians and flight officers from active flight duty roster for failing to comply with aviation safety requirements.

AWID took action against 35 violators, FOS’s investigation found 32 faults with operators since 2008, while FSLD took action against only one captain and crew of a Twin Otter on August 30, 2011.

CAAN grounded an ultra-light plane and a helicopter in 2014, while four captains were removed from the roster in the last four months. “CAAN removed 16 captains from active flight duty in 2013 and acted against 20 aviation rule violators in the last fiscal year.”

Operating companies, pilots and crew members were found guilty of non-compliance with the requirements for maintenance, flight operations and security, reveals the data.

The data also shows that De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter has so far faced action 16 times, followed by DO 228 and Cessna 208 B (nine times each), Bel 206 B (four times) and Boeing 757-200 (thrice). Besides, nine kinds of aircraft/choppers were involved in 27 flight safety violations.

The CAAN had also taken action against five types of AS350 single-engine choppers, four types of Dornier Do 228 twin-turboprop and two types of ATR aircraft.

“The violators were slapped fines ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 30,000,” sources said, adding that CAAN also suspended licences of technical service manager, deputy director of technical department and chief of the quality assurance section of the air service companies. “In six-and-a-half years, CAAN collected Rs 232,000 as fine under 37 heads,” reveals the data.

“The highest fine, Rs 30,000, was slapped jointly on an airline, its crew and engineer on November 12, 2011, for ignoring airworthiness indicators.”

Confirming the action over safety violations, Director General at CAAN Ratish Chandra Lal Suman said the regulatory body was closely watching wrongdoings committed by airlines.

“CAAN is committed to taking action against violators as it steps up efforts to convince the European Union to lift a ban imposed in December by addressing outstanding safety issues,” he said, adding there is an urgent need to revise the existing Civil Aviation Act to make the enforcement action stricter for an effective air service regulation.

According to Aviation Safety Network run by Flight Safety Foundation, Nepal has recorded loss of 121 lives in 12 major air accidents since 2008.

Source: THT