In the wake of the tragic Tara Air crash on Sunday, which claimed the lives of 22 people, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal  (CAAN) revised its flight permit plan. News reports said “CAAN to not allow domestic flights unless the weather is clear”.

For many, this raised a question – were we allowing flights to operate in bad weather? Surely not! It seems, by many, the news was underreported – here’s what CAAN is updating:

Clear weather all the way:

According to Mahesh Kumar Basnet, a former CAAN employee, the rule for Visual Flight Rules (VFR) in Nepal is that there should be a 5 kilometre visibility and 1500 feet ceiling (height of the cloud) from the ground at the destination aerodrome. In the en-route phase, the Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) should be minimum 5 kilometres flight visibility with a 1,500 metre horizontal distance from cloud and 1,000 feet vertically.

CAAN, which earlier used to take into account weather only at source and destination airports, and the above mentioned visibility will, from now on, consider en-route weather conditions as well.

“We will continue to depend on the data provided by Department of Hydrology and Meteorology to decide if the weather condition is okay at any place,” said Devendra Lal Karna, deputy director general, CAAN.

More power to the airports: 

The revised rules also maintain that the pilot in command will no longer decide on the feasibility of flights. A decision on the weather along the plane’s route will be made at the airport.

On Sunday, 29th May, 2022, a twin-otter aircraft operated by Tara Air crashed with 22 people on board – “Nepal’s 19th plane crash in 10 years and its 10th fatal one during the same period”, according to the Aviation Safety Network database. The plane’s black box has been recovered, meanwhile preliminary investigation has showed poor weather as the main cause for the Sunday accident, urging CAAN – Nepal’s chief aviation body to make immediate reforms.