Passengers on an Air India and a Nepal Airlines aircraft had a narrow escape on Friday (March 24) when the two planes came close to a mid-air collision near Kathmandu.
The in-flight warning systems alerted the pilots, whose timely action prevented a major disaster, Kathmandu authorities said on Sunday. Three air traffic control (ATC) employees have been suspended.
On Friday morning, the Airbus A-320 of Nepal Airlines was going to Kathmandu from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, while the Air India plane was doing so from New Delhi.
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The Air India plane was descending from 19,000 ft, while the Nepal Airlines aircraft was flying at an altitude of 15,000 ft at the same location, said Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) spokesperson Jagannath Niroula. After seeing the other aircraft on the radar, the Nepal Airlines plane descended to 7,000 ft, he added.
CAAN has suspended the three officials who were in charge of the ATC room at that time, said Niroula. It has also formed a three-member committee to investigate the matter.
There was no immediate comment from Air India.
In January, 72 people lost their lives when a Yeti Airlines plane crashed near Nepal’s Pokhara airport.
(With agency inputs)