Sixteen people were killed when a Dornier aircraft belonging to Agni Air crashed the other day in Jomsom of Mustang district shortly before it was supposed to land. The 9N AIG- D-228 ill-fated aircraft that had flown for Jomsom from Pokhara early in the morning met with the tragic accident while trying to land. Although the cause of the crash will be known only after the investigation panel, which has already been formed, submits its final report, circumstances indicate that human negligence may have caused the tragedy. Accidents do occur everywhere in the world. But they cannot be taken for granted as they involve precious lives.
The significance of air service in Nepal needs no elaboration as it is the only means of transportation in some parts of the country where roads are still not available. Moreover, given Nepalís topography, road construction is costly and difficult, which indicates the importance of air services. With the increase in the demand for air transport, the private sector has invested heavily in the aviation sector, taking advantage of the liberal policy of the government. As a result, many private airlines are operating mostly in the domestic sector. This has created cut-throat competition, which is good for the aviation sector. However, there is another side of the story. As more airlines have entered into operation, the rate of air crashes has also gone up. Aviation experts often complain about the poor infrastructure in Nepal. Although the number of airlines and aircraft has increased, the infrastructure has not improved correspondingly. There are also complaints of lapses in technical maintenance, monitoring and supervision of aircraft.
A big flaw lies on the part of the government officials. The Civil Aviation Authority, the sole body to regulate, supervise and monitor the entire aviation sector in Nepal, has often complained about lack of sufficient skilled human resource and other resources. If that is the case, immediate efforts need to be initiated to create the necessary skilled manpower because the civil aviation body cannot escape from its responsibility by shifting blame. Since it involves human life, there must be regular and strict monitoring and supervision of technical as well as other aspects. The authorities need to ensure that all aircraft are technically checked and maintained regularly. This would, to a large extent, help check accidents and save peopleís lives.