Ms. Ghimire is a research intern at Samriddhi Foundation, an economic policy think tank based in Kathmandu. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not represent the views of the organization. Author can be reached at Aarashi Ghimire [email protected]
On 30th of November 2023, the European Union decided to continue its ban on Nepali Aircrafts. The EU publishes “EU Air Safety List”, which is a list of all the airlines that are subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union. Nepal has made it to this list for the eleventh consecutive year.
The blacklisting of the airlines in Nepal is not a new phenomenon. In 2013 the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) had included Nepal in its bad books as it was dissatisfied with the progress Nepal made to make its airspace safe. After some efforts made by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal(CAAN), in 2017 finally the status was revoked. However, even after ICAO revoked their concerns, the EU has furthered their ban till date.
The bottom line requirement by the EU to remove Nepal from the list is to split the civil aviation body into two entities of a service provider and regulator. The two pending bills- The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal bill and Air Service Authority of Nepal bill, still stay pending in the federal parliament. Had the government been successful in passing this bill, it would have made the case for Nepal stronger.
Their suspicion also furthered due to the accident of Yeti Airlines in the newly constructed Pokhara airport. The consequences of these bans are severe and limiting to the boundaries of the aviation sector. The economic implications of this decision is huge as it directly affects the tourism sector which is a vital component of the Nepalese economy. The European tourist may perceive Nepal as unsafe, which affects the tourist inflow, potentially influencing tourists from other nations. The government should take significant steps in passing the bill and also adhering to other standards set by the EU. This is imperative not only to relive the aviation industry but also to ensure safety of all those using the services of Nepalese airlines.
The inclusion of Nepali airlines in the EU Air Safety List continues to impact the aviation industry and the tourism sector. The pending bill and meeting the international standard are imperative. Resolving this issue will not only be about reviving the aviation sector but also about ensuring the safety of travelers. The country’s commitment to these standards will restore trust in its services and create a safer environment for all.