CAAN suspends NAC crew members accused of misbehaving air hostess

Published On: February 25, 2023 12:00 PM NPT By: Arun Bam

KATHMANDU, Feb 25: A complaint has been lodged with the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) stating that a pilot working with the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) abused an air hostess. Following the complaint, the country’s aviation regulatory body has banned all active crew members from flying immediately. It is said that the incident took place seven months ago on July 28, 2022. 

CAAN spokesperson Jagannath Niraula confirmed the complaint. He said, "The complaint has just been received. The complaint has received serious attention of the authority after it was recently received. The CAAN has already started the necessary investigation.”

According to Niraula, the incident took place on the flight number RA-416 of NAC, which was on its way to Kathmandu from Kuala Lumpur. “All the active members of the crew on that flight have been stopped from flying by the authority immediately while taking necessary action after receiving the complaint.”

The CAAN has also announced this on Twitter, in which it is mentioned that "the authority has drawn serious attention to the matter of unprofessional actions and mistreatment of the flight attendants by the crew members".

On the other hand, Ganesh Kumar Ghimire, co-spokesperson of Nepal Airlines Corporation, claimed that no such information was received until the end of office hours on Friday. "Today, there was no such information within the office hours," he said, “Maybe if the instructions came late. We would not have known it.”

What had happened?

According to sources, there was a dispute regarding how Captain Arvindraj Pahari, who is working in NAC, placed the new flight attendant who was in charge of watching the door, in the cockpit while landing the aircraft, during the landing of a flight before July 28.

The rest of the cabin crew and other members were also displeased when Captain Pahari suddenly took the flight attendant, who was responsible for the door to the cockpit. They were displeased as that was wrong from the point of view of air safety. At the same time, the other flight attendants united and raised their voices internally. The source said the new air hostess then left the job.

It is said that Captain Pahari abused one of the flight attendants during the flight on July 28 for protesting what he had done. After that, the flight attendants on the same plane informed Captain Bijay Lama, the director of the relevant branch (cabin crew division) of the corporation, through email. The email was published by KTM Daily Online. According to the news, Captain Lama then wrote an email to the higher officials of the NAC to address the problem.

Besides, the sources claimed that the air hostesses also filed complaints with the higher-ranking officials of the NAC. However, instead of solving the problem from the corporation, it is said that the air hostesses, who complained, are being prosecuted and fired.

After not being heard for three months, the victim air hostess gave a written complaint to the operation department of the corporation on December 17. The complaint has been given to the then Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Jeevan Ram Shrestha, Executive Chairman of the Corporation Yuvraj Adhikari, Human Resources Department and Air Safety Department of the Corporation.

In the complaint, the flight attendant complained about the mental stress she and her colleagues suffered throughout the flight due to the mistreatment by Captain Pahari and the serious impact on the flight. It is mentioned that there has been no hearing and no initiative has been taken to solve sensitive issues like sexual violence at workplace even three months after the complaint was filed. 

Sources claimed that the victim also met former Minister Shrestha and told him about the violence she was subjected to. But as there was no action regarding the incident the victim had decided to file a complaint with the CAAN.

Sources said that there were 10 crew members including three captains on the plane on July 28. It is said that captains Mukesh Kumar Gupta and Lal Bahadur Thakali were aboard the aircraft.

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