A flight of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) with more than 170 passengers onboard which was ready to take off to Dubai was cancelled at final moment. The wide-body airbus A330 with call sign ‘9N-ALZ’ ‘Makalu’ flight which was ready for flight nearly at 10 PM on Tuesday night was cancelled after the Air Traffic Controller didn’t let for pushback of the aircraft as the airport was about to close for renovation work.
The aircraft under Captain Shrawan Rijal was ready for flight with all necessary preparation completed and was ready to take off, but he ATC halted the aircraft as Dragon Air was also scheduled for flight. Dragon Air took off at 9:57 PM and when NAC asked for Pushback, the ATC denied stating closure of the airport.
At 8:34PM the aircraft was dispatched from Parking Hanger to Parking Bay 2 and at 8:37 doors were opened and all Crew were on Board stated one of the airline’s official. At 8:47 Catering Truck was in and by 9:38 pm the boarding completed and by 9:48 aircraft doors were closed. At 9:55 the aircraft was push-backed and was waiting for sequence but the ATC denied for flight.
The aircraft pilot asked around 4 minutes of time for flight as all the passenger were boarded and all necessary preparation was done but the ATC denied for the flight and the flight was conducted on Wednesday morning.
NAC officials have stated that Airport officials were not serious about the flight permission and stated that airport officials only gave priority to foreign airlines. The airline official also stated that the corporation’s time for flight was on 9:15 but the flight could not be conducted till 10 PM.
They questioned about ATC letting aircraft to be boarded and cancelling the flight at end moment and giving priority to foreign airline rather than the flag carrier of the country.
The flight cancellation also agitated the passenger onboard and most passengers did not left the aircraft seeking compensation. The airlines airport manager and police official requested the passenger and succeeded to disembark passenger nearly 8 hours later.
The passenger were later shifted to hotels nearby airport.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAAN) Airport office stated that Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was already published months ago and letting flight to operate at the time will lead to violation of law thus had not allowed for flight operation. And being black listed in European Union (EU) and violating the law would create more issue stated the official.
The airport has also stated to close airport by 9:30 and time between 9:30-10 PM will be used for delay flights and emergency flights and the official from the airport stated that the delay was also caused by the airline itself. They also stated that the airline official neglected the notice about closure of the airport which was circulated 3 months prior and stated that airline neglected the rules.
Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has formed a committee under Buddhisagar Lamichhane, Joint Secretary of Ministry to investigate on the flight cancellation. The 5 member committee has been given 5 days period to probe over the case.