Talk about flying off course.
A group of Buddha Air passengers was probably not very happy to leave their domestic flight in Nepal – at the wrong airport.
On Friday afternoon, 69 passengers boarded flight U4505 from Kathmandu, bound for the southern city of Janakpur, according to The Kathmandu Post. However, a communication failure between ground personnel and flight crew resulted in pilots flying northwest of Pokhara – about 230 miles from their intended destination.
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Birendra Bahadur Basnet, managing director of the Nepalese airline, regretted the situation and said that Buddha Air is already investigating the incident. Another carrier official attributed the confusion to suboptimal weather conditions, which worsened flight delays at Kathmandu airport earlier in the day.
“There was a failure of communication between the ground personnel and the pilots,” the anonymous officer told the Post. “The flying pilots did not look at the passengers’ manifest either.”
Although a flight attendant informed passengers that the plane was going to Pokhara, not Janakpur, nothing could be done as the aircraft was already in the air.
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“It’s an occupational error … or a human error, you can tell,” explained Basnet. “Our internal committee will recommend an appropriate system for not repeating the error in the future.”
For what it’s worth, Tri Ratna Manandhar, a former director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, said that a commercial flight from Nepal has not flown to the wrong place since 1993.