Air Mishaps : NU
What has been happening in the Nepalese sky is beyond imagination of a common Nepali. One just cannot believe two air mishaps in the span of three days. It has sent deep fear among the Nepalese and foreigners who have no option but to fly to reach their destinations in remote hills and mountainous areas.
Air service is regarded as the most secure form of transport service. However, this fact has taken a nosedive in the case of Nepal where, according to data, 65 air accidents have occurred in as many years. On an average, every year one air accident has been occurring, making the Nepalese sky one of the most unsafe activities in the world.
Though the air travel is regarded the safest means of travel, it is also true that whenever an incident like air-crash takes place, the mortality rate among the passengers and aircrew is always higher. When a passenger aircraft crashes, the possibility of passengers' survival is almost nil. Therefore, the safety measures adopted for air services around the world is exceedingly tight and rigid.
It is often alleged that several of our private airliners have not been following the safety measures as envisaged by ICAO, the international body that oversee the safety and other measures of air services in each of its member states. From the following of the maintenance measures of the aircraft to upgrading the modern flying technology, our aviation seems to have failed to respect the ICAO instructions, leading to the frequent air crashes.
It has been alleged that Tara Air passenger Twin Otter plane that crashed en route to Jomsom from Pokhara on Wednesday, was overloaded. The plane was fit to fly with 18 passengers on a treacherous mountainous terrain but on the fateful day it was flying with 23 passengers. Likewise, the Kashtamandap Airline's single engine plane that crashed while flying to Jumla was not suited for flying passengers. After the crash, the government had barred all single engine aircraft from ferrying passengers.
All these episodes have made the flying a trying experience in Nepal, where several airports are located at extremely difficult terrains. Actually, the airliners are highly expected to adhere to all flying safety norms along with keeping their aircraft in fit and fine condition.
However, with the growth in the number of private airline companies, the number of accidents has also grown too, dropping a hint that the arrival of private air companies has also brought the danger of air mishaps.
It is also true that with every air mishap, the nation loses its citizens for no fault of their own. Likewise, many young and competent air crews like pilots, air hostess and air attendants along with other perish in such accidents. In the two recent air crashes, the nation lost four pilots and two airhostesses. Losing a pilot, a professional who trains hard to get his license, is a great loss to the nation as is the loss of other technical hands.
Air accidents, no doubt, are the most serious of all kinds of transport accidents that kill many people on board in one go. It is really high time that our authority paid attention to avert such mishaps by enforcing strict rules and measures. Or, a day will come when people within the nation and outside of it would detest flying on smaller planes on our domestic routes. If this happens, then the very idea of running a private airline company in the nation would dissipate into thin air.
Ambassador of Nepal to the United Nations 1991-1994, Jaya Raj Acharya was inspired by diplomatic luminaries such as Prof. Yadunath Khanal and Rishikesh...