NA: The Civil Aviation bill aims to promote the development of civil aviation in the country through creation of a conducive policy and legal environment.

The Civil Aviation Act 2000 will be repealed with the enactment of this new law. The bill was introduced in the National Assembly during the last session.

Moving the motion in the house for the third reading of the bill, Shompangkha MP Rinzin Dorji said it would establish and enhance the standards of safety and security within the civil aviation system.

The bill seeks to establish a regulatory agency called the “Bhutan Civil Aviation Authority”. The authority will perform regulatory functions in accordance with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) requirements and international conventions and best practices.

The government believes that the bill will enable the establishment of aviation infrastructure and facilities for what it calls a “competitive, safe and reliable aviation industry”.

The authority will be a legal entity operating within the laws of Bhutan responsible for regulation of civil aviation activities. The authority will also regulate aircraft and certification of commercial air carriers.

The bill grants the authority legal status and capacity necessary for the fulfillment of its objectives and the exercise of its functions. They include entering into contracts.

The bill proposes the formation of a Board of Directors as the highest decision-making body for the authority. The Board will be responsible for giving general direction for the implementation and achievement of the objectives and functions of the authority.

The bill states that the civil aviation authority should be headed by a director general (DG) appointed by the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC). However, Khar-Yurung MP Zanglay Dukpa said it would be better to mention “head of the department” in place of DG.

Information and communications minister DN Dhungyel responded saying it was important to specifically mention that the authority is headed by a DG for convenience while dealing with international agencies. For instance, he said it has been inconvenient for Bhutan to participate in the international DG’s conference due to lack of the position in the civil aviation agency.

According to the bill, the government should encourage regional cooperation in the regulation and administration of aviation safety.

MB Subba