Runway blocked at Nepal’s only international airport stranding thousands

KATHMANDU, Nepal – Nepal’s only international airport remained closed for a second day Thursday, forcing the cancellation of all flights to and from foreign destinations and stranding thousands of passengers.

The only runway at Kathmandu’s Tribhuwan International Airport has been partially blocked since a Turkish Airlines jet skidded off the wet surface Wednesday morning.

Airport officials said the facility will be closed until Friday morning as workers attempt to move the jet.

The nearest international airports are in neighbouring India, and travelling there by road takes days.

The runway was slippery after two days of rain and there was dense fog when the Turkish Airlines plane skidded into the grass after landing. There was some damage to the front of the Airbus 330, but no serious injuries were reported.

Nepal asked India for help, and an Indian Air Force plane flew equipment and crew to Kathmandu on Thursday to move the plane.

Officials said they planned to resume international flights on Friday morning.

March is the beginning of the tourism season, when thousands of foreigners come for trekking and to climb the Himalayan peaks.


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