Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Ram Kumar Shrestha has expressed hope that Nepali airline companies would soon be removed from European Commission (EC)’s blacklist that bans all airlines from Nepal from flying into the 28-nation bloc.
He was confident that European Union will remove Nepalese carriers from the list of unsafe carriers if the team from the EC, which arrived in Nepal on Monday to conduct on-site inspection of six Nepalese airline companies, prepares a factual report after thoroughly looking into the air safety measures adopted by them including areas like airworthiness of their aircrafts and flight operation.
The EC team has started visiting offices of state-owned Nepal Airlines Company, Buddha Air, Tara Air, Yeti Air, Shree Air and Sita Air from Monday. The team is also visiting the office of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal to look into areas like flight operation, personal licensing and accident investigation.
Minister Shrestha, who was speaking at a programme organised in the capital, also made it clear that EU’s decision to put Nepal in the blacklist was not in anyway influenced by Government of Nepal's decision to buy Chinese aircrafts.
Saying that the tourism sector has great potential in Nepal and can play a crucial role in the economic growth of the country, he, however, said that the country cannot hope to bring in more tourists without first investing in development of key infrastructures. Minister Shrestha was of the opinion that for this Nepal should first make timely upgrades and improvements in Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) to keep it at par with international standards.