Trekkers and mountaineers heading to the Nepalese Himalaya may be forced to find alternative airlines with which to travel, following the banning of all Nepali carriers from operating within the European Union.
Recently established by the EU Air Safety Committee, the ban has been put in place to help improve aviation safety in Nepal after seven fatal air crashes claimed dozens of lives within the last five years – including those of British trekkers on their way to Everest.
Transport commissioner Siim Kallas said: ‘’The current safety situation in Nepal does not leave us any other choice than to put all of its carriers on the EU air-safety list. We do hope that this ban will help the aviation authorities to improve aviation safety.’’
Having received repeated warnings from aviation authorities regarding their failing safety standards, Nepal can no longer fly into or within EU air space. Those who have already booked seats on Nepali carriers have a right to reimbursement if they decide not to use the ticket, with many Kathmandu tour operators now questioning the impact this could have on the number of climbers and trekkers visiting the region.