Kathmandu: Nepal`s Tribhuvan International Airport which was closed down on Wednesday due to an aircraft skidding off the runway is likely to open after 10.00 a.m. Saturday, said an official statement on Friday.
Thousands of passengers have been stranded in Kathmandu since Wednesday after an Airbus A-330 aircraft belonging to Turkish Airlines skidded off the runway at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).
On Thursday, upon the Nepal`s request, an Indian Air Force C-130J Super Hercules aircraft reached Kathmandu airport with Aircraft Removal Kit along with 25 technical hands. The Indian team is being assisted by a Nepali team.
The Indian team has lifted the front portion of the Turkish Airlines plane with the help of a bladder or balloon, TIA Chief Birendra Shrestha said. He said all three wheels of the plane will be changed by Friday evening.
The Indian team of technicians is expected to complete the clearance works by this afternoon. The international flights would resume only after the removal of the plane from the runway, said the TIA officials.
At a press conference organized at the TIA on Friday afternoon, Director General at Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), Ratish Chandra Lal Suman informed that flights operations will not resume until 10:00 am on Saturday.
The shutdown of the only international airport in Nepal has left thousands of passengers stranded. Over 50,000 passengers bound for various international destinations have suffered in three days due to airport closure, said travel agencies.
At least 27 international carriers belonging to India, China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Hong Kong operate around 80 international flights in Kathmandu daily. The TIA said that over 220 international flights were cancelled until Friday afternoon.
There is no records how many inbound travellers are stuck outside Nepal.
The incident has left the government red-faced as it turned out that there was no contingency plan for such major crisis.