Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 20 September 2019

Nepal's international airport closed after plane skids off runway

Yeti Airlines flight was landing with All 69 people on board

Nepalese policemen secure the area during an emergency drill at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on June 28, 2019. AP Photo
Nepalese policemen secure the area during an emergency drill at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on June 28, 2019. AP Photo

Nepal's only international airport was closed on Friday after a plane skidded off the recently repaired runway, injuring two people, officials said.

The Yeti Airlines ATR 72-500, arriving into Kathmandu from southern Nepal with 66 passengers and three crew, 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, said.

Mr Chettri said that removing the Franco-Italian-made turboprop plane was taking a long time because heavy rain has made the area muddy.

Napal has a poor flight safety record – Nepali airlines are banned from European Union airspace – and its airports are notoriously difficult to land in.

Authorities took 11 hours to remove a domestic aircraft that went off the runway 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 last year, 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.

Updated: July 12, 2019 12:55 PM

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