Aviation law in Nepal

Aviation law governs the operation of aircraft, maintenance of aircraft, and associated legal and business concerns. The matters relating to aviation industry are governed by various Acts and Regulations including Civil Aviation Act, 1959; Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal Act, 1996; Civil Aviation Regulation, 2002.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (“CAAN”) as a regulatory body, aims at operating the national and international flights, air transportation services in safe, regular, standard and efficient manner. CAAN has an authority to register aircraft, provide the certificate of airworthiness, flight permit, suspend and cancel the operation of the air services.

A. Air Service Operation Permit and Certificate

The procedure for obtaining Air Service Operation Permit and Certificate is set out below:

  • To obtain the Air Service Operation Permit and Certificate (“Permit and Certificate”), the Air Service Operating Organization having a license must submit an application to the Director General.
  • Upon the necessary examination, the Director General can issue the Permit and Certificate to the applicant.
  • Validity: The Permit and Certificate will be valid for 2 (two) years.
  • Renewal:An application for renewal of the Permit and Certificate must be submitted 30 (thirty) days in advance from the expiry of the term to the Director General.
  • Suspension or Cancellation: If the Air Service Operating Organization undertakes any activities in contrary to the provisions of the prevailing laws, regulations as specified at the time of issuance of Permit and Certificate, the Director General can issue an order to suspend up to 6 (six) months or cancel the Permit and Certificate.
  • The Air Service Operation Organization will be provided reasonable opportunity to submit its clarification prior to issuance of order of suspension or cancellation.

B. Registration of Aircraft

The Aircraft not registered in any country are prohibited to make any flight in the airspace of Nepal.

The procedure for registration of Aircraft is set out below:

  •  The Air Service Operating Organization possessing the Permit and Certificate must submit an application to the Director General to register its Aircraft bought or leased for commercial purpose in Nepal.
  • If the person or organization is willing to register the Aircraft for private purposes except for commercial purposes, they must submit an application to the Director General mentioning the same.
  • Upon the necessary examination of the application, the Director General can issue an order to register the Aircraft. The Aircraft must be used only for the purposes for which it was registered.
  • Lease of Aircraft: The Air Service Operating Organization possessing the Permit and Certificate can lease the Aircraft by submitting an application along with copy of the lease agreement to the Director General.
  • Transfer of Aircraft: The ownership of an Aircraft can be transferred to any other person or organization through sale, purchase or any other means by submitting an application to the Director General.
  • The parties must submit the agreement or similar type of document to the Director General. Upon the examination of application and necessary documents, the Director General can issue an order to transfer the registration of Aircraft.

The following categories of Aircraft cannot be registered under the laws of Nepal:

  1. Aircraft registered in other country;
  2. Aircraft under the ownership of Nepalese Army, Nepal Police and Custom; and
  3. In the case of Aircraft not having Nepalese Type Certificate or Type Approval, if there is no plan to transfer the technology to the personnel of the concerned Airline Service Operation Organization and the Authority.

C. Deregistration of Aircraft

The owner of the Aircraft must submit an application to the Director General for the deregistration of Aircraft along with the necessary details in the following circumstances:

  1. If the Aircraft gets damaged due to accident and there is no possibility for maintenance;
  2. If the Aircraft is being permanently taken out of the country for any reason or being sold; and
  3. If there issues an order for change in registration of the Aircraft pursuant to Civil Aviation Regulation, 2002.

 D. Certificate of Airworthiness

The Aircraft must acquire the Certificate of Airworthiness for the operation in the airspace of Nepal. The Aircraft operated without the Certificate of Airworthiness will be detained by the authorized officials and the necessary actions are taken thereof.

The procedure of obtaining the Certificate of Airworthiness is set out below:

  • An application must be submitted to the Director General along with the fees for obtaining Certificate of Airworthiness.
  • The Director General has power to issue the Certificate of Airworthiness.
  • Validity: The Certificate of Airworthiness will be valid for 2 (two) years except otherwise order has been issued by the Director General on the ground that the Aircraft was found not in a good condition to fly or safety reasons in the routine examination of the Aircraft.
  • Renewal: An application for renewal of the Certificate of Airworthiness must be submitted before the date of expiry of the term to the Director General.
  • Suspension or Cancellation: If the Aircraft is flown against the terms and conditions as specified in its Certificate of Airworthiness and prevailing laws, the Director General can issue an order to cancel or suspend the Certificate of Airworthiness for a specific period.
The concerned organization will be provided reasonable opportunity to submit its clarification prior to issuance of order of suspension or cancellation.

E. Flight Permit

The Aircraft must obtain the flight permit prior to any flight operation in the air space of Nepal.

The procedure for obtaining flight permit is set out below:

  • The owner of Aircraft or Air Service Operating Organization must submit an application to the Director General to obtain flight permit or to fly or to land in the runway of any airdrome or helipad.
  • Upon the consideration of the technical aspects of the Aircraft, the Director General can provide flight or landing permit by specifying necessary terms and conditions.

F. Offences and Punishment

S. N.OffencesPunishment
1Offence relating to unauthorized entryImprisonment for a term ranging from 1 (one) year to 3 (three) years.
2Offence relating to violation of aerial territoryImprisonment for a term ranging from 1 (one) year to 3 (three) years.
3Unlawful seizure or hijacking of an aircraftLife imprisonment.
Attempt of offence: Imprisonment for a term ranging from 15 (fifteen) years to 20 (twenty) years.
4Offence against the safety of air flightLife imprisonment.
Attempt of offence: Imprisonment for a term ranging from 15 (fifteen) years to 20 (twenty) years.
5Offence against the safety of AircraftLife imprisonment.
Attempt of offence: Imprisonment for a term ranging from 15 (fifteen) years to 20 (twenty) years.
6Offence against the safety of aerodromeImprisonment for a term ranging from 1 (one) year to 5 (five) years; and
Liable to pay the amount claimed for the loss.
7Offence against the safety of persons concerned with Air NavigationImprisonment for a term ranging from 5 (five) years to 10 (ten) years.

G. Jurisdiction

The courts of Nepal have jurisdiction over the offences if any of the following conditions are met:

  1. If the offence is committed in the territory of Nepal;
  2. If the offence is committed against or on-board an aircraft registered in Nepal;
  3. If the aircraft on-board which the offence is committed lands in the territory of Nepal with the alleged offender still on-board; and
  4. If the offence is committed against or on-board aircraft leased without crew (dry lease) to a lessee who has a principal place of business in Nepal, or if the lessee has no such place of business, his/her permanent residence in Nepal.

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