Nepal has suspended three air traffic controllers and launched an investigation after the near-collision of two planes waiting to land at Kathmandu International Airport, an official source announced on Sunday.
The incident occurred on Friday when an Air India aircraft, on hold at an altitude of 19,000 feet (5,800 meters) due to heavy traffic at the airport, suddenly descended and narrowly missed collided with a Nepal Airlines plane which was flying at an altitude of 15,000 feet (4,572 meters), spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, Jagannath Niroula, told AFP.
He announced that "
three air traffic controllers who were on duty at the time have been removed from the checkpoint until further notice
", adding that a commission of inquiry had been set up.
The spokesman also said a letter had been sent to Indian civil aviation regulators to "
investigate possible misconduct by the Air India pilot
Poor equipment maintenance and lax enforcement of safety rules weigh on the Nepalese air transport sector despite international recommendations.
The European Union has banned all Nepalese carriers from its airspace for security reasons.
The last air disaster dates back to January, when a Nepalese Yeti Airlines plane crashed on approach to Pokhara airport (central Nepal), killing all 72 people on board.