Nepal suspends two controllers after flights avert midair crash
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal suspends two employees of the air traffic controller department for ‘carelessness’.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has suspended two employees of the air traffic controller department for “carelessness”, the aviation body’s spokesperson Jagannath Niroula has told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.
Nepal’s CAAN on Sunday wrote to the Director General of Civil Aviation of India (DGCAI) to probe why the Air India plane, which was on hold at an altitude of 5,800 metres (19,000 feet) due to high traffic at Kathmandu airport, suddenly descended and narrowly missed colliding with the Nepal Airlines aircraft flying at an altitude of 4,572 metres (15,000 feet).
“We have written to DGCAI requesting them to evaluate the occurrence and take action as deemed and inform us accordingly,” the CAAN spokesperson told the Reuters news agency.
He added that the aviation body has formed a committee to look into the incident.
On Friday, an Air India and a Nepal Airlines aircraft came close to colliding in midair while they were waiting to land at Kathmandu’s busy international airport.
But the warning systems alerted the pilots which averted the disaster, PTI reported on Sunday.
The Nepal Airlines plane was inbound to Kathmandu from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the Air India plane was coming to Kathmandu from New Delhi, India.
“Similarly, we have sent a letter to the Indian civil aviation regulatory body to investigate into possible fault of Air India’s pilot and take necessary action,” Niroula said.
Nepal is notorious for its poor air safety, and the latest incident comes less than two months after a plane crash in western Nepal which killed all 72 people on board.
A government committee is due to submit its report to ascertain the cause of the Yeti Airlines crash.
In addition to difficult flying conditions, Nepal’s air transport sector has been plagued by accidents due to poor maintenance, insufficient training and lax standards.
The European Union has banned all Nepali carriers from its airspace over safety concerns.