Questions raised over air safety in Nepal

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Kathmandu, Aug 9 (IANS) Nepal witnessed six air accidents involving domestic airlines in the last one year, raising question over its air safety standards, aviation experts and airline operators said.

In the latest incident, a helicopter of Fishtail Air crashed into a cliff at Nuwakot district in central Nepal on Monday, killing all seven passengers and crew members on board including a newly-born baby, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Although air safety in Nepal is challenging due to difficult terrain and ever changing climatic condition, there is not a proper safety management system in the country,” Rajesh Raj Dali, former director general of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal said.

Since the accident of Mountain Helicopter on June 2, 2015, the country witnessed six accidents involving domestic airlines which killed 36 passengers and crew members. Four of those accidents were of the helicopters.

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Such accidents are taking place at a time when the Himalayan nation is under the significant safety concern list of International Civil Aviation Organisation and the European Commission has banned Nepali airlines to fly over the sky of the EU, showing deficiency in air safety.

“There are not enough infrastructures on ground to mitigate the risk of tough terrain and weather as well,” Dali said, who headed a probe committee of Tara Air crash in February.

“No action has been taken against the airline company whose aircraft has met accidents frequently,” said Rameshwor Thapa, former president of Airline Operators Association of Nepal, who is also owner of Simrik Air.

Bhim Raj Rai, who oversees media relations at Yeti Airlines, one of the largest domestic airline companies, said they have increased the monitoring on the daily activities of their pilots while also providing many facilities to them for their refreshment following the crash of Tara Air, a subsidiary company of Yeti Airlines.

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