Talk about flying off course.
A group of Buddha Air passengers probably weren’t too happy to exit 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, The Kathmandu Post reports. However, a miscommunication between ground staff and flight crew resulted in the pilots flying to northwest to Pokhara – roughly 230 miles away from the intended destination.
Birendra Bahadur Basnet, the Nepali airline’s managing director, expressed regret for the situation and said that Buddha Air is already investigating the incident. Another official for the carrier chalked up the confusion to less-than-ideal weather conditions, which exacerbated flight delays at the Kathmandu airport earlier in the day.
“There was miscommunication between the ground staff and the pilots,” the unnamed official told the Post. “The flying pilots also did not look at the passengers’ manifest.”
Though a flight attendant reportedly informed passengers that the plane was heading to Pokhara, not Janakpur, nothing could be done, as the aircraft was already airborne.
“It’s an occupational error … or a human error you can say,” Basnet explained. “Our internal committee will recommend an appropriate system not to repeat the mistake in the future.”
For what it’s worth, Tri Ratna Manandhar, former director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, claimed that a commercial Nepali flight has not flown to the wrong place since 1993.