The United Kingdom is willing to assist Nepal improve air safety.
A team from the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has said that they will ask the UK government to assist Nepal in maintaining air safety by providing technical assistance in the most essential areas, according to joint secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Suresh Acharya.
The team has asked the ministry to identify the areas where the UK government can offer help, he said, adding that the UK government can provide assistance in installing equipment and other technical support to Nepal, if needed.
AAIB has deployed a two-member team to assist the Nepali government in probing Friday’s crash of a Sita Air aircraft.
The crash had killed all 19 people on board, including seven Britons. The UK government decided to deploy its investigation officials after its citizens too were killed in the crash.
Senior inspector of Air Accidents at AAIB Geraint Herbert and head of Group Projects at MEL Aviation Ltd Stuart Hawkins had arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday evening to initiate the investigation, said Acharya. “Any country can deploy its own investigation team according to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.”
They will work with the five-member probe team formed by the government on Friday evening.
The team from UK today visited the crash site, mapped the site in detail, and inspected the airstrip where the dead bird was found, according to Acharya.
Similarly, the team members also interviewed eyewitnesses as part of their investigation, he informed.
Meanwhile, alarmed by frequent plane crashes in Nepal, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has said that it will form a separate and permanent body to investigate aviation accidents.
The ministry has also decided to form a high-level aviation safety agency to enhance aviation safety. It has also decided to give priority to developing aviation safety infrastructure.
“The ministry will revise the existing Aviation Safety Policy and recommend the government to waive customs duties while importing airplanes and accessories,” said Acharya.
Urging all airliners to ensure quality and flight safety measures, the ministry has directed the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) to monitor and supervise all operational functions with special concern on technical document update.