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EC questions CAAN for its decision to allow MA60 aircrafts

Airplanes in Nepal Airport. Photo: File photo
Airplanes in Nepal Airport. Photo: File photo

KATHMANDU, Nepal – At a time when the government is all set to sign a final agreement with the Chinese side to bring 58-seater MA60 and Harbin Y-12e aircraft, the Aviation Safety Committee of the European Commission (EC) has questioned the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) on issuing type certificate to the Chinese-made aircrafts.

The EC has questioned the CAAN on the latter’s decision during a meeting in Brussels, Belgium on Nov 19.

CAAN has recently issued type certificate to the MA60 allowing it to fly in Nepal for civilian transport for the first time.

According to a CAAN source, the committee asked them why the certificate had been issued when it did not meet the obligations of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

CAAN officials informed the officials that the certificate was issued after verifying that the turboprop was designed in line with the specifications of the Chinese Civil Aviation Regulations 25 (CCAR-25) of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, and was compatible with the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 25.

A 10-member Nepali delegation led by CAAN ’s Director General Ratish Chandra Lal Suman and consisting of representatives from Nepal Airlines Corporation and private airlines participated in the meeting.

Director General Suman had in his remarks earlier said that CAAN can issue the certificate after verifying the aircraft under the FAA code. “If the aircraft is not certified by the FAA and the EASA, as a third option the aviation regulator has the right to issue the certificate at the request of the aircraft manufacturer.”

Suman, however, said that the committee was informed that the aircraft had not been issued a certificate of airworthiness. “The airworthiness certificate is issued after the aircraft is formally registered in the respective countries. And there will be a further assessment before issuing the airworthiness certificate to the MA60,” he added.

Meanwhile, it is also learnt that the Nepali delegation were asked to explain what measures Nepal had adopted to ensure safety amid frequent air crashes.

The EC has twice asked CAAN to submit an action plan and progress report outlining its commitments to ensure safety as domestic airlines risk being black listed due to the high number of accidents.

Amidst the frequent air accidents in the country, the committee has warned to blacklist the aviation sector of Nepal.

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