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05 March 2024

Turkish Airlines runway overshoot latest: UAE flights to Nepal affected

Nepalese rescue workers check the area around a Turkish Airlines plane after it slid off the tarmac at Kathmandu international airport on March 4, 2015. A Turkish Airlines plane carrying 224 passengers had to be evacuated after it missed the runway on landing at Kathmandu airport and skidded onto nearby grassland. (AFP)

By Bindu Rai

Passengers travelling via UAE to Kathmandu are reporting being stranded for nearly 26 hours as Nepal’s only international airport has been forced to cancel all flights after a Turkish Airlines plane skidded off the runway on Wednesday.

At a press conference led by the head of Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority, Ratish Chandra Lal Suman stated that all flights to Kathmandu have been cancelled due to a runway closure following the incident.

Thwarting efforts to move the Airbus A330 plane was a lack of machinery required to move the aircraft from the grassland where the aircraft currently stands, tipped on its nose.

The authorities have stated they may be shipping heavy duty equipment from neighbouring India. However, as Nepal’s lone international airport, the conundrum remains that large cargo planes that could be used to fly in the machinery are currently unable to land.

Meanwhile, flydubai, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and the Sharjah-based Air Arabia flights to Kathmandu remain affected.

According to flydubai live ticker, flights FZ575 and FZ573 from Wednesday and Thursday remain cancelled.

A passenger flying to Kathmandu from Moscow, via Abu Dhabi, told Emirates 24|7 he has been stranded in the UAE capital for 26 hours as he waits to catch a connection to Nepal’s Tribhuvan International Airport.

The flight status for Air Arabia indicates two flights from Wednesday and the 7.15am G9531 on Thursday have not yet departed.

According to TIA’s flight status timetable, other Gulf flights that remain cancelled on Thursday includes Qatar Airways from Doha, Gulf Air from Bahrain and Oman Air from Muscat.

Jet Airways has also announced all flights between Mumbai-Kathmandu and Delhi-Kathmandu remains cancelled for March 5 and 6.

Air India also tweeted on its official account: “All flights to Kathmandu for today from India stand cancelled due runway not available. We regret the inconvenience.”

On Wednesday morning, a Turkish Airlines jet carrying 224 people skidded off the runway, forcing passengers to evacuate through emergency exit doors.

While the cause of the accident is still under investigation, airport officials are citing technical failure and bad weather might as the causes. The runway was shrouded in dense fog that morning