Nepal tightened flight permit rules for airlines on Tuesday by mandating clear weather throughout the route, after a preliminary investigation indicated bad weather was the main cause of the crash. plane crash in the mountainous Mustang district of the Himalayan nation that killed all 22 people on board.
So far, Nepal’s aviation regulator, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), has issued permits to airlines if weather conditions at origin and destination airports are good. But, from now on, the en-route weather conditions of the flight will also be considered.
Since Nepal is a mountainous country, the weather conditions are always fluctuating and it is difficult to operate a flight in the mountainous region without a proper weather forecasting mechanism.
The new provision is applicable to all flights under visual flight rules.
When submitting the flight plan, airlines are required to submit weather forecast information acquired from the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology regarding the weather at the flight destination and en route, as per the notice issued by the CAAN.
A preliminary investigation revealed that Tara Air’s Canadian-built Twin Otter 9N-AET turboprop plane crashed into the mountains after swerving to the right, instead of turning to the left due to bad weather .
The Canadian-built Twin Otter 9N-AET turboprop plane was carrying four Indians, two Germans and 13 Nepalese passengers, in addition to a Nepalese crew of three when it crashed minutes after taking off from the tourist town from Pokhara on Sunday.
The government formed a five-member commission of inquiry led by senior aeronautical engineer Ratish Chandra Lal Suman to find out the cause of the Tara Air plane crash that killed 22 people, including four Indians and two Germans.
Nepal, a country often considered one of the riskiest places in the world to fly, has had a heavy toll of aviation accidents, in part due to its sudden weather changes and its airstrips located in mountainous terrain.
The capricious weather conditions are not the only problem for air operations in Nepal. According to a 2019 safety report by CAAN, Nepal’s “hostile topography” is also part of the “enormous challenge” pilots face.
In 2016, all 23 people on board were killed when a plane from the same airline on the same route crashed after takeoff.
In March 2018, a US-Bangla Air crash occurred at Tribhuvan International Airport, killing 51 people on board.
A Sita Air flight crashed in September 2012 during an emergency landing at Tribhuvan International Airport, killing 19 people.
A plane flying from Pokhara to Jomsom crashed near Jomsom airport on May 14, 2012, killing 15 people.
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