Friday, December 27, 2013

Barlaston widow welcomes Nepal airlines' EU ban following plane crash which killed her husband Steve Holding

Steve Holding with his wife Maggie. 

The wife of a holidaymaker killed in a plane crash in Nepal has welcomed a decision to ban the country’s airlines from flying within the EU.

Maggie Holding, of Barlaston, says the move by the European Commission is an important step forward, but admits more still needs to be done to improve the country’s aviation safety record.

Her 60-year-old husband Steve was on a two-week holiday in Nepal when the plane he was traveling in crashed in September 2012.

A report following the accident – which killed 19 (passengers and crew) – found a catalog of failures, including findings that the pilot failed to use the correct speeds during take-off, and that the crew was not trained to handle the type of emergency situation.

Now the Commission has confirmed that all Nepalese airlines have been added to the EU Air Safety List – which names airlines banned from operating within the EU.

It means that airlines from Nepal are prohibited from flying into or in EU airspace, while operators and travel agents in Europe will have to inform travelers of the change if they have made a booking on a Nepalese carrier.

Mrs Holding, of Longton Road, said: “This is excellent news which feels like a positive step forward.

“But this only relates to flights to Nepal. I would like it made obligatory for European operators and travel agents to warn people about their risks of taking internal flights in Nepal.

“Travel companies who offer adventure holidays need to ensure that by using only airlines with high safety standards – ‘adventure’ begins after travelers have arrived at their destination.

“Risk should not be part of their journey.

“Lessons need to be learned from the past tragedies if improvements are ever going to be seen.”

The news of the ban has also been welcomed by Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Aviation Law team, which is representing the families of several passengers killed in the fatal Sita Air crash.

Clive Garner, Head of the Aviation Law Group at Irwin Mitchell, said: “We are delighted that our concerns have been listened to and hope that this decision will be a wake-up call to both airlines and the aviation authorities in Nepal.

“Urgent steps are needed to improve flight safety there, and we hope that this action will provide the incentive to improve standards and better protect aircraft passengers in the future.”

The tragedy involved a Dornier 228 aircraft crashing to the ground shortly after take-off at Kathmandu-Tribhuvan Airport. It was the sixth fatal incident in the country in a two-year period, and there have been three further crashes in the country since.

Stone MP Bill Cash added: “Any sensible measures which prevent unnecessary deaths are, of course, extremely welcome.

“It is a tragedy that my constituent died in this way, and more will still need to be done to improve the aviation safety records for a number of countries.”


NTSB Identification: DCA12RA153
Accident occurred Friday, September 28, 2012 in Kathmandu, Nepal
Aircraft: , registration:
Injuries: 19 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On September 28, 2012, a Sita Air Dornier 228, registration 9N-AHA, with Garrett (Honeywell) TPE 331 engines, reported a bird strike shortly and crash shortly after takeoff from Kathmandu-Tribhuvan Airport (KTM), Kathmandu, Nepal. The three crew members and 16 passengers onboard were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The flight was a regularly scheduled passenger flight from KTM to Lukla Airport (LUA), Lukla, Nepal.

The investigation is being conducted by the Nepal Ministry of Tourism. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13 as the State of Manufacture and Design of the engines.

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