Nepal Airlines and Air India planes almost collide after air traffic controllers' error

Aircraft descended to 7,000 feet after warning signals showed up on the radar that the Air India plane was in proximity

Nepal Airlines Airbus 320 and other international airlines are seen parked inside Tribhuwan International airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Airlines in Nepal have been forced to cancel more than half of their domestic flights because of an ongoing fuel shortage, an official said Monday. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
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The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has suspended three air traffic controllers after Air India and Nepal Airlines planes were involved in a near miss over Nepal.

Nepal Airlines' Airbus A-320 was flying to Kathmandu from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia when it came close to a Kathmandu-bound Air India plane from New Delhi last Friday, CAAN said at the weekend.

The Nepal Airlines aircraft was at an altitude of 15,000 feet [5,790 metres] , while the Air India aircraft was descending from 19,000 feet flying to the Tribhuvan International Airport, CAAN spokesman Jagannath Niroula said.

The collision was averted after the warning signals alerted the pilots as radar showed two the aircraft in proximity, prompting the Nepal Airlines aircraft to descend to 7,000 feet.

Authorities have formed a three-member committee to investigate the matter.

“Air-traffic controllers of Tribhuvan International Airport involved in a traffic conflict incident … have been removed from active control position until further notice,” the CAAN said in a tweet.

The CAAN has also reportedly banned the Air India pilots and has written to India's aviation regulator.

The incident comes nearly three months after a Yeti Airlines flight carrying 68 passengers and four crew members, took off from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport and crashed minutes before it was due to land at Pokhara's international airport in January.

The plane had plunged into a 300-metre-deep gorge between Pokhara’s old airport and its new international airport and “broke into pieces”, killing all 72 people aboard.

Updated: March 27, 2023, 5:59 AM