Nepalese Dornier crash spurs action to cut accident risk

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Nepal's government is to establish a separate organisation to investigate air accidents as part of a series of safety measures in the wake of the fatal Sita Air Dornier 228 crash in Kathmandu.

It will also set up a high-level aviation safety agency in a bid to stem the long series of accidents involving commuter turboprops in the country.

Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal officials met with the tourism and culture ministry, airport management and other government personnel the day after the accident.

The delegates' response to the Dornier crash on 28 September includes a plan for all Nepalese airlines to implement tighter quality-assurance and flight-safety measures.

But the meeting revived suspicions that a bird strike might have played a role in the accident, after delegates said that a bird-control committee for the city's Tribhuvan airport would be activated.

The delegates state that a "separate and permanent body" will be formed to investigate aviation accidents and there will also be "regular co-ordination meetings" between the civil aviation authority and airlines.

Safety inspectors will be "deployed immediately" at Kathmandu as well as Pokhara and Nepalgunj and the government will increase the number of flight-safety personnel.

Other measures include prioritising the development of aviation safety infrastructure and a recommendation that customs duties for importing aircraft and parts be waived.

Nepal's poor safety record in regional air transport has attracted the attention of the European Commission which is considering whether the country's operators should be included on its airline blacklist.