Two ATC officers grounded after Air India and Nepal Airlines near mid-air collision

Air India A319 aircraft
BoeingMan777 /

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has indefinitely suspended two air traffic controllers of Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) who were involved in a recent incident that could have ended in a two-plane mid-air collision at a holding zone over Simara in Nepal.

According to flight history found on, on March 24, 2023, the Nepal Airlines Airbus A320-200 aircraft, registered 9N-AKW, was operating the scheduled passenger flight RA416 between Kuala Lumpur (KUL) in Malaysia and Kathmandu (KTM) in Nepal. Meanwhile, the Air India Airbus A319-100 plane registered VT-SCG, was arriving in Kathmandu (KTM) from Delhi (DEL) in India on scheduled flight AI213.

As it was reported by The Economic Times, the air traffic conflict incident happened when the Air India plane descended to an altitude of 3,700 feet from 19,000 feet. At the same time, it was being held up over Simara in the south-eastern region of Nepal.

Meanwhile, the Nepal Airlines jet was flying to the same destination at an altitude of 15,000 feet and had to retract the altitude after the Air India plane descended.

Fortunately, the warning systems of both aircraft prevented the tragedy.

In response to the incident, the CAAN decided to suspend two air traffic control officers who were on duty.

“Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) of Tribhuvan International Airport involved in traffic conflict incident (between Air India and Nepal Airlines on 24th March 2023) have been removed from active control position until further notice,” the CAAN announced on March 26, 2023.

Along with the ATC officers, the CAAN also temporarily banned the flight crew of Air India aircraft who were involved in the event, The Print reported.

The incident is currently under investigation.

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