A Turkish Airlines plane that skidded off the runway and veered onto the grassy shoulder while landing at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) forced cancellation of nearly 80 international flights in and out of the airport on Wednesday. Domestic flights operations too were halted for five hours.
At least 15,000 travellers have been affected after the airport authority failed to remove the stranded Airbus A330 aircraft from the runway. The airport authority said it would take at least five hours to remove the aircraft from the site on Thursday.
Hundreds of travellers were forced to wait for more than four hours awaiting their flights at the country’s sole international airport. The decision of the flight cancellation was taken in the afternoon after the airport authority informed the airlines that it would not be able to remove the aircraft until 4:00 pm on Thursday.
“We expect towing out the aircraft out will be completed by 4:00 pm on Thursday,” said Ratish Chandra Lal Suman, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. “We expect smooth operation of international flights by Thursday evening.”
He said the aircraft had 32 tonnes of fuel, of which 17 tonnes have been ejected. The aircraft still weighs 126 tonnes. “As our towing equipment’s capacity is just 70 tonnes, we have asked for the Indian government’s support,” he said.
An Indian Air Force C-130J transport aircraft is scheduled to land at TIA at 8:00 am with a “removal kit” to tow out the stranded jet. The C-130J is meant for an array of operations, including difficult landings.