Air India, Nepal Airlines planes mid-air collision averted; 2 air traffic controllers suspended

After it showed up on the radar that the two aircraft were in proximity, the Nepalese flight descended to 7,000 ft to avoid a major tragedy

By Agencies

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Published: Sun 26 Mar 2023, 2:33 PM

Last updated: Sun 26 Mar 2023, 3:49 PM

A major tragedy was averted on Friday when an Air India and a Nepal Airlines aircraft came close to collision mid-air, but the warning systems alerted the pilots, whose timely action prevented the disaster, authorities said here on Sunday.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has suspended two air traffic controller department employees for "carelessness", according to CAAN spokesperson Jagannath Niroula.

On Friday morning, a Nepal Airlines plane coming to Kathmandu from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and an Air India plane coming to Kathmandu from New Delhi almost collided.

The Air India aircraft was descending from 19,000 ft while the Nepal Airlines aircraft was flying at an altitude of 15,300 ft at the same location, Niroula said.

After it was shown on the radar that the two aircraft were in proximity, the Nepal Airlines aircraft descended to 7,000 ft, the spokesperson said. The Civil Aviation Authority has formed a three-member probe committee to investigate the matter.

Nepal bans Air India pilots indefinitely

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has suspended the pilot crew of Air India after an incident at the holding zone that occurred on Friday.

The Air India aircraft on Friday had descended to 3,700 feet from 19,000 feet while it was being held up over the sky of Simara in Nepal.

"Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) of Tribhuvan International Airport involved in a traffic conflict incident (between Air India and Nepal Airlines on March 24, 2023) have been removed from active control position until further notice," the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal tweeted.

The CAAN has decided to ban the Air India pilots in the incidents and has written to DGCA-India, the CAAN announced. The authority also questioned the crew over the incident on the same day after landing at Kathmandu. The pilot-in-command also accepted their mistake and apologised for it.

Along with the pilots, the 3 Air Traffic Controllers, who were on duty at Kathmandu tower also have been grounded.


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