New plane crash in Nepal: why do accidents happen so often in this Himalayan country?

This is the worst accident in Nepal in the last 30 years: this Sunday, a plane carrying 72 people (68 passengers, including a Frenchman and 4 crew members) crashed into the bottom of a 300-meter ravine built between the old airport of Pokhara. 1958 and the new international terminal opened on January 1. This is the deadliest air accident since 1992 in the Himalayan country, where we can only see high frequency of air accidents. Is flying over this country more risky than another?

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Nepal, ‘one of the world’s riskiest places to fly’

“Nepal represents a challenging terrain and environment for an airline to operate in,” said Shukor Yusof of Malaysia-based aviation consultancy Endau Analytics. “Flying in this part of the world is very difficult for any pilot. Some planes have to be specially designed to go to such altitudes,” he told AFP.

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Mountains make it difficult for pilots, especially in bad weather. Nepal has eight of the world’s 14 highest peaks, including Mount Everest, making it a popular destination for tourists and climbers.

“There are very strong winds. The weather changes quickly, so I would say it’s probably one of the riskiest places in the world to fly because of the geography, the weather and all the challenges,” said Greg Waldron of Singapore. FlightGlobal’s Asia editor, industry expert.

Nepal has some of the most remote and challenging trails in the world, surrounded by snow-capped peaks that challenge even the most experienced pilots to get close.

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Nepalese carriers are banned from EU airspace

Poor maintenance of equipment and poor enforcement of safety regulations are severely affecting Nepal’s air transport sector despite international recommendations. The European Union has banned all Nepalese air carriers from entering its airspace for security reasons.

According to Shukor Yusof, Nepal has a “quite dubious track record” with aviation security: “If we draw from this experience, it’s clear that they have a lot of room for improvement.” An expert describes the ATR (Airbus) plane that crashed on Sunday as “a very, very reliable workhorse that can operate in difficult conditions and terrain.”

On the other hand, Greg Waldon told AFP that after watching a video of the final moments of the flight, he thought the plane had a “wing stall,” meaning one of its wings did not stop suddenly. device charging.

The control of the Nepalese authorities is not strict enough

Nepal scored poorly in an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) audit last year on accident investigations. According to Gerry Soejatman, a Jakarta-based aviation consultant, ICAO found that authorities in Nepal did not exercise adequate oversight and “lacked the capacity to effectively enforce” rules and standards.

“It adheres poorly to ICAO accident investigation guidelines, which are essential for identifying problems, fixing them and making recommendations to prevent future accidents,” he said.

Series of weather disasters in Nepal

In 1992, a Pakistan International Airlines flight crashed on approach to Kathmandu, killing 167 passengers, the deadliest air crash in the country’s history.

The most recent air disaster involved the crash of Nepal’s Tara Air last May, in which none of the 22 passengers, 16 Nepalis, four Indians and two Germans, survived. Air traffic control lost contact with the twin-engined Twin Otter shortly after it took off from Pokhara towards Comsom, a popular spot for climbers.

Since then, authorities have tightened the rules, allowing planes to fly only in favorable weather conditions throughout the journey. In March 2018, 51 people died and 20 were seriously injured as a result of an American Bangla Airlines plane crash near Kathmandu International Airport.

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