International flights resumed from Nepal’s only international airport here after a Turkish jet which was blocking the runway following a crash landing on Wednesday morning, was removed successfully with the help of Indian Air Force technicians.
The Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) had remained closed for more than three days after a Turkish Airlines Airbus A-330 skidded off the runway and veered onto the grassy shoulder after losing balance during landing on Wednesday.
“The airport’s runway has been cleared at 7.45 pm and the airport is ready for landing and take off,” said Upendra Bachhar, duty officer at the TIA, talking to PTI over phone.
“The international flights will soon start operation to and from the airport,” he said.
TIA spokesperson Purna Chudal said the airport will be kept open for 24 hours after the resumption of flight operations to ease the overflow of the stranded passengers.
Indian Air Force has sent 11 technical experts and a C-130J Super Hercules transport plane with an aircraft removal kit following requests by the Nepalese government to remove the Turkish jet, for resumption of international flights in and out of the country’s capital.
TIA had remained shut since Wednesday morning when the Turkish Airliner – with 224 passengers and 11 crew members onboard – skidded off the runway and part of the wing of the plane fell on the runway, blocking movement of other aircraft.
Thousands of passengers and tourists were stranded at the airport as flights were cancelled for four consecutive days, affecting the upcoming tourist season, one of the main source of forex for the Himalayan nation.
Nepal’s high altitude and tricky runways that often suffer from foggy conditions and poor visibility pose a challenge to even the most accomplished of pilots and had been blamed for a string of aircraft crashes in the past.
The European Union had banned all Nepal-based airlines in December 2013 from flying to the 28-nation bloc, citing poor safety standards followed by the airlines in Nepal.