KATHMANDU, Jan 18: An Etihad Airways airplane flying from Kathmandu to Abu Dhaib, the UAE, with 168 passengers on board had an emergency landing at Tribhuvan International Airport Tuesday night.
The Boeing 737 aircraft, which took off at 9:15 pm, had had the forced landing after one of its engines ‘failed’. All the passengers including the crew members are safe.
“We were informed that one of its engines failed five minutes after it took off,” Ratish Chandralal Suman, general manager at TIA, said. “The plane had the emergency landing at 10:12 pm in Kathmandu,” he added.
According to him, the airplane had just crossed Dharke in Dhading, one of the adjacent districts to the capital, when the problem was first detected. Then the aircraft was held in the air for around half an hour to exhaust some more fuel so as to make the aircraft lighter.
“This had to be done as the weight of an aircraft should be less when it faces engine failure,” he said. The airport management had alerted the security agencies, ambulances and fire brigades soon after the problem was communicated to the TIA.
The aircraft had arrived at TIA from Abu Dhabi just some time ago at 8 pm. It will now be grounded at the airport for some four days until Etihad engineers from Abu Dhabi come and fix the problem, Suman said.
This is a second time an airplane flying from Kathmandu has faced such problem in a week. Only four days ago, a Qatar Airways airplane flying to Doha from Kathmandu had had a forced landing due to a similar problem.
The aircraft then had to be force-landed in the nearby Indian city of Lucknow after the problem was detected when it was flying over Palpa district on its way to Doha, the Qatari capital, airport officials said.