Nepal tightens flight rules after deadly crash, permission to fly only in favorable weather – Times of India


KATHMANDU: Flights in Nepal will only be allowed to fly if there are favorable weather forecasts on their route, under new regulations announced in the wake of a recent crash that killed 22 people, officials said on Thursday.
A full investigation into the Twin Otter plane crash in western Nepal on Sunday is underway, but a preliminary investigation suggested bad weather was the cause of the accident.
Air traffic control lost contact with the twin-prop aircraft shortly after it took off from Pokhara and headed for Jomsom, a popular Himalayan trekking destination.
The wreckage was found a day later, with all 16 Nepalese, four Indians and two Germans on board killed.
Airlines have expressed concerns about how the new regulations should be implemented, citing the country’s limited weather forecasting infrastructure.
Authorities say permits to fly will now only be issued after the aircraft’s operator has submitted a flight plan that includes weather information for the destination and the full route of the flight, according to a statement from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal released on Tuesday.
The provision of en-route weather information was previously not mandatory.
Airlines may also be banned from operating flights if the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology predicts adverse weather conditions in an area for a specified period of time.
Aircraft operators say Nepal lacks infrastructure for accurate weather forecasting, especially in remote areas with challenging mountainous terrain where deadly crashes have occurred in the past.
“While the decision is essential and plays a critical role in flight safety, we do not know how to implement it as there is no clear way to get the en-route weather information for domestic flights,” said Yog Raj Kandel Sharma, spokesman of the Airlines Operators Association of Nepal.
The aviation authority has also formed a committee to investigate the possibility of mandating two pilots on board single-engine helicopters.
Sunday’s crash was the latest plane crash in the Himalayan country, which has some of the world’s trickiest runways to land on and where pilots have to deal with erratic mountain weather.
The aviation industry in Nepal has boomed in recent years, transporting goods and people between hard-to-reach areas.
However, in addition to difficult flying conditions, it is plagued by poor safety due to insufficient training and maintenance.
The European Union has banned all Nepalese airlines from its airspace for security reasons.

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