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Nepali Officials Head to Brussels to Lift European Airspace Ban

Nepal Airlines

After the European Commission (EC) banned Nepal from flying into EU yet again last December, high level officials from Nepal’s civil aviation authority have left for Brussels, Belgium to talk to EC and lift the ban, reports The Himalayan Times.

Nepal has worked on its shortcomings identified by the EC four years ago have been fixed and have adequate evidences to prove that. They will have to assure EC that Nepal can “provide the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) necessary resources to make it competent to execute various responsibilities independently”.

If the officials can convince EC representatives, there are high chances that EC may remove Nepal from its “air safety list”. The officials from Nepal aviation include Tourism Joint Secretary Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane and Caan Director General Sanjiv Gautam. The officials only have four hours to represent their case.

Last July, the International Civil Aviation Organizations (ICAO) had removed the Significant Safety Concerns (SSC) tag on Nepal placed four years ago. The officials are optimistic that on their next meeting in June, EC will remove Nepal from its air safety list.

Rajan Pokhrel, deputy director general of the CAAN said, “We will be presenting our progress report at the technical meeting. So far, we have addressed all the safety shortcomings cited by the EC.”

Nepal’s aviation sector has been progressing very well and Nepal plans to expand to European airspace. It is also planned to resume flights to London after it gets the Airbus A330 jets in mid-2018. However, this ban from the EC blocks all these plans. As long as the restriction is in place, Nepali airlines will not be able to fly in Europe and other countries.

Last year, EC decided that it would continue to impose the ban placed against Nepal four years ago. But as Nepal’s issues were not discussed during EC’s aviation safety committee meeting, Nepal was formally invited to present its case in the technical committee meeting.

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