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01 December 2023

Nepal airport opens: Etihad, Flydubai latest

A Turkish Airlines plane lies on the field after it overshot the runway at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu March 4, 2015. According to local media, all passengers were rescued. REUTERS

By Bindu Rai

Passengers stranded the past four days due to the Kathmandu runway closure have heaved a sigh of relief as flights resumed at Nepal’s lone international airport on late Saturday evening.

The 84-hour hiatus for take-off and landing was in effect at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) following the aviation mishap last Wednesday when a Turkish Airlines A330 skidded off the runway and essentially shut all air traffic down.

Etihad Airways announced a new flight schedule for Sunday, March 8, along with adding a new flight for passengers who were booked for the Saturday EY292 and EY293 flights.

In a statement, the spokesperson said: “Following the opening of TIA, Etihad Airways has issued the following revised schedule for flights between Abu Dhabi and Kathmandu on Sunday, 8 March: Flight EY292D (AUH-KTM) and EY293D (KTM-AUH) an additional flight to accommodate passengers of the previously scheduled flight on Saturday, 7 March, operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft.

“Flight EY290 (AUH-KTM) and EY291 (KTM-AUH), wpgraded to a larger Airbus A330-200 aircraft to accommodate the additional passengers.
“Flight EY292 (AUH-KTM) and EY293 (KTM-AUH), operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft.

“Flight EY2290 (AUH-KTM) and EY2291 (KTM-AUH),  additional flight for affected passengers, operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft.”

Flydubai, which operates double daily flights to Kathmandu said in a statement to Emirates 24|7 that it  has resumed flights to Kathmandu from Saturday, with additional flights operating to ferry passengers.

It stated: “We have resumed our flights to Kathmandu on Saturday when the airport opened. We operated two flights yesterday.”

The airline stated an additional two flights will operate Sunday, adding to its double daily, while an addition flight will be added on Monday.


“A decision will then be made if more extra flights are needed,” it further added.

A Nepal Airlines Airbus A320 was the first flight to be cleared for take-off on its Kathmandu-Delhi route at 10.22pm on Saturday following an all-clear issued after the stranded Turkish aircraft was towed away to the domestic parking area at 7.30pm.

According to media reports, a team of engineers from Air India  were called in to assist with moving the aircraft that was stuck on its nose in the grassland surrounding the runway.

TIA authorities have stated it is adding 24-hours service for five days to clear a backlog of flights and allowing international carriers to operate additional ones to ferry all stranded passengers.

An estimated 50,000 travellers were reportedly stranded due to the incident, according to TIA.