Nepal’s Buddha Air flies passengers to the incorrect airport
(CNN) – The Nepalese airline Buddha Air recently made a mistake when it flew passengers to the wrong airport.The domestic airline took off from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on December 18. From there she flew northwest to the country’s second largest city, Pokhara, instead of heading southeast to the flight’s planned destination, the southern city of Janakpur. The two cities are about 250 miles apart.
Astha Basnet, executive officer at Buddha Air, told CNN Travel that the mix-up was due to two factors: “Communication errors and non-compliance with detailed standard operating procedures (SOP).”
Put simply, it was just a mix-up.
Due to weather conditions, many Nepalese airports open later in the day in winter. Because of this shortened window, it is not uncommon for multiple flights to depart in a short amount of time, which obviously created confusion.
Despite the surprise passengers must have received upon entering the wrong airport, the situation reportedly went relatively smoothly. When Buddha Air learned what had happened, they had the pilots take the passengers to Janakpur as planned. There are no direct flights between Pokhara and Janakpur, so the airline has been given special permission to fly there.
The 69 passengers on board – 66 adults and three children – reached Janakpur safely, albeit a few hours behind schedule. No mechanical problems were reported with the aircraft itself.
Buddha Air is a Nepal based airline that was founded in 1996 and started operations the following year.
Basnet confirms that the airline’s crew will receive additional training after the flight mix-up and that the airline has changed its existing flight manuals.
While such aircraft failures do occur, they are quite rare. In 2019, a British Airways flight from London City Airport, which was supposed to arrive in Dusseldorf, accidentally flew to Edinburgh because of an incorrect flight schedule.
Passengers realized something was happening when they looked out the window – and at their Google Maps apps.