Kathmandu, April 12
Nepal Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA) has refuted the claim of bias against Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) for not allowing it to fly after 10:00pm, while a FlyDubai carrier was permitted to.
Issuing a statement here today, NATCA has said that the traffic controllers were just following the given orders and that the accusation by NAC on air traffic controller (ATC) at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) was unjustifiable.
On April 2, ATC had not allowed a NAC plane to take-off after 10:00pm citing the notice for airmen (NOTAM) issued for runway expansion work. According to NAC, they had asked ATC for just four extra minutes so that they could take-off. However, the ATC refused NAC’s request, leaving the 285 passengers onboard along with cabin crew stranded. Then on April 9, FlyDubai got permission from ATC to take-off at 10:17pm.
According to Raj Kumar Chhetri, general manager of TIA, the aircraft was all set to fly and so the airport management directed ATC to allow FlyDubai to take-off in consideration of the inconvenience to onboard passengers if the flight was cancelled.
Afterwards, NAC had accused TIA and Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) of discriminating against the national flag carrier.
The NATCA statement has further said that NAC falsely accused the ATC of TIA for providing preferential treatment to international airlines. “Such kind of wrong information has affected the reputation of all ATC staff,” reads the statement.
In the statement, NATCA has clarified that the ATCs were only following orders of the airport management in both the cases.
A version of this article appears in print on April 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.