Buddha Air plane flies the wrong way, taking passengers to airport 160 miles from its destination

Wrong way, Bud! Buddha Air plane flies the wrong way and takes its passengers to airport 160 miles from its destination in Nepal

  • The Nepalese airline was supposed to fly south to Janakpur from Kathmandu’s  Tribhuvan International Airport
  • But instead it flew north west to Pokhara in central Nepal due to ‘human error’
  • 69 passengers were flummoxed to find themselves in the wrong Nepalese city 

A Nepalese airline accidentally dropped passengers at the wrong airport 160 miles from their intended destination after a mix-up by staff. 

The Buddha Airlines plane was supposed to fly south to Janakpur from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport but instead it flew north west to Pokhara in central Nepal.

The 69 passengers were flummoxed when they found themselves looking out of their plane windows at the wrong Nepalese city. 

Passengers of the Buddha Air plane were shocked to find that they had landed at an airport 160 miles away from their intended destination. Pictured: Buddha Air plane at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport (file photo)

Passengers of the Buddha Air plane were shocked to find that they had landed at an airport 160 miles away from their intended destination. Pictured: Buddha Air plane at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (file photo)

The Nepalese airline was supposed to fly south to Janakpur from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport but instead it flew north west to Pokhara in central Nepal

The Nepalese airline was supposed to fly south to Janakpur from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport but instead it flew north west to Pokhara in central Nepal

‘There was miscommunication between the ground staff and the pilots,’ an official from the airline told The Kathmandu Post. ‘The flying pilots also did not look at the passengers’ manifest.’   

Poor weather conditions meant flights to Pokhara were permitted until 3pm. Buddha Air took action and changed the flight numbers around and transferred the 69 passengers intending to go to Janakpur onto a flight cleared for Pokhara by air traffic controllers. 

While everything was in the right order on paper, the ground staff and the flight attendant failed to brief the pilots about the change of flight number and so they flew the plane to Pokhara. 

The 69 passengers were flummoxed when they found themselves looking out of their plane windows to find themselves in the wrong Nepalese city of Pokhara. Pictured: Pokhara airport in Nepal (file photo)

The 69 passengers were flummoxed when they found themselves looking out of their plane windows to find themselves in the wrong Nepalese city of Pokhara. Pictured: Pokhara airport in Nepal (file photo)

The ‘breezy’ weather meant passengers who had boarded Buddha Air’s ATR 72 on Friday faced delays. The conditions meant pilots were having to rush to get out on time and use any available travel window in which they were allowed to take-off.  

‘Paperwork was fine,’ Birendra Bahadur Basnet, managing director of Buddha Air said. ‘There were weather conditions also so the pilots were more focused on flying.’

The passengers were flown to Janakpur directly from Pokhara later in the day, the airline said. 

The mix-up is said to have been caused by human error. 

‘It’s an occupational error, or a human error you can say,’ said Basnet. ‘Though such errors cause losses to the organisation, it has nothing to do with the safety issue.’

The passengers were flown to Janakpur directly from Pokhara later in the day, the airline said Pictured: Buddha Air plane standing at the Bharatpur Airport in Nepal (file photo)

The passengers were flown to Janakpur directly from Pokhara later in the day, the airline said Pictured: Buddha Air plane standing at the Bharatpur Airport in Nepal (file photo)

Buddha Air, admitting their mistake, have launched an internal investigation into the incident. 

‘Our internal committee will recommend an appropriate system not to repeat the mistake in the future,’ said Basnet.

Former director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, Tri Ratna Manandhar, said the incident happened due to miscommunication. 

‘It’s not part of safety lapses but it’s a serious lapse on the part of management,” said Manandhar. ‘Such lapses cause passengers to suffer. On the other hand, airlines too have to bear losses.’

These mishaps are rare. But in March last year, a British Airways plane intended for Düsseldorf in Germany instead landed in Edinburgh, Scotland after the flight paperwork was submitted incorrectly, according to reports. 

Nepalese airlines are all banned from flying in the EU because of concerns about how they are run and accidents are common. 

The EU Air Safety List ban airlines ‘for failure to adhere to the applicable international safety standards’. 

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