European authorities are considering whether to blacklist Nepalese carriers after the latest in a series of fatal commuter turboprop accidents underlined concerns over safety oversight.
None of the 19 occupants of a Sita Air Dornier 228 survived after it came down near the Manohara river just after take-off while operating Kathmandu-Lukla on 28 September.
There have been at least 10 major air accidents during the past decade in Nepal, most involving Dornier 228s and de Havilland Canada Twin Otters operated by local carriers such as Agni Air and Yeti Airlines.
European Aviation Safety Agency inspectors carried out a technical assistance mission on-site in Nepal in February this year in an attempt to diagnose weak points in the country's safety oversight system.
The European Commission has also opened formal consultations with Nepalese authorities, under its airline blacklist regulations. "These consultations, once they are concluded, will allow us to determine whether a ban, or operating restrictions, on air carriers licensed in Nepal would be necessary," says the Commission's transport division.
European sanctions against small tourist carriers already have precedent. Twin Otter operator Blue Wing, which provides flights in Suriname, remains on the Commission's blacklist.