An aircraft skidded off the runway in Kathmandu even though the runway had recently been repaired. The airport has been closed after the incident
Kathmandu: Nepal's only international airport was closed on Friday (July 12) after a plane skidded off the recently repaired runway, injuring two people, officials said.
The country has a poor flight safety record — Nepali airlines are banned from European Union airspace — and its airports are notoriously difficult to land in.
The Yeti Airlines ATR 72-500, arriving into Kathmandu from southern Nepal with 66 passengers, skidded about 15 metres into the grass.
"Our teams are working to remove the plane and reopen the airport," the airport's general manager Raj Kumar Chettri told AFP.
Chettri said that removing the Franco-Italian-made turboprop plane was taking a long time because heavy rain has made the area muddy.
Authorities took 11 hours to remove a domestic aircraft that suffered a similar runway excursion in September last year, months after a Malaysian jet with 139 people on board had aborted its takeoff and skidded off the runway.
In March 2018, a US-Bangla Airways plane crashed near the airport, killing 51 people.
The Himalayan nation has some of the world's most remote and tricky runways, flanked by snow-capped peaks with approaches that pose a challenge for even accomplished pilots.
Many such incidents were reported in India as well. So much so that the aviation regulator DGCA had grounded 12 pilots and served show-cause notices on them.
SpiceJet, Air India Express and GoAir have been involved in three, two and one such incidents, respectively, in the past few days, prompting the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to take action against the 12 pilots.
DGCA also issued show cause notices to the directors of the Chennai and Ahmedabad airports after it found that some critical areas were not being maintained as per its safety standards, sources said.
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Last Updated 12, Jul 2019, 5:12 PM