KATHMANDU: The government has appointed Rajan Pokhrel as the Director General of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) for a four years term.

The Cabinet meeting on Thursday took a decision to this effect. The key post at the country’s civil aviation body had remained vacant after the term of former Director General Sanjiv Gautam ended on May 29.

Pokhrel said that he received his appointment letter on Friday. Pokhrel, who has served as a chief at the safety department at the authority for a long time, said great strides had visibly been made in Nepal’s civil aviation industry. “But the civil aviation is still at a crossroads with several issues that need to be urgently addressed,” he said.

One of the biggest challenges is to remove Nepal from the air safety list of the European Commission (EC), he said. The EC imposed a blanket ban on all airlines from Nepal from flying into the 28-nation bloc in December 2013.

“Besides, there are challenges to operate the upcoming international airports in Bhairahawa and Pokhara,” he said. “Overall, safety remains my top priority.”