On Friday, July 12th, a Yeti Air ATR 72-500 skidded off the runway upon landing. This led to three passengers sustaining injuries as well as the temporary shut down of Nepal’s only international airport – Kathmandu Tribhuvan (KTM). According to Sam Chui, there were 66 passengers on board the aircraft.
The incident took place at 11.05 am with Yeti’s flight NYT-422 which flies from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu. Furthermore, this incident was likely a result of slippery conditions from the continuous morning rain.
According to a senior official, the aircraft skidded 20 meters off the runway, landing on nearby grassland. Below is the official tweet from Yeti Airlines regarding the incident:
We regret to inform you that Yeti Airlines Flight Number NYT-422 (9N-AMM) was involved in a runway excursion incident at KathmanduAirport at 11:05 Am today . All 66 passengers ( 64 adult and 2 infant) and 3 Flight Crew members onboard are safe and have been evacuated.
— Yeti Airlines (@FlyYeti) July 12, 2019
According to The Daily Star, Tribhuvan International Airport said that three passengers sustained minor injuries during the incident. Those with injuries went to Kathmandu Medical College.
Airport closure, flight diversions
Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) General Manager, Raj Kumar Chhetri, says that airport teams were sent to remove the aircraft from the runway. In fact, the Himalayan Times reports more specifically that technical and engineering teams from the Nepal Army, TIA and Yeti Airlines, among others, were on site to get the aircraft removed.
Due to the incident, the airport was temporarily shut down. As a result, there were numerous diversions and delays for the only international airport in the country.
All the incoming flights were sent to other countries. For example, Thai Lion Air’s flight SL220 from Bangkok was sent to Dhaka, Bangladesh while Qatar Airways’ flight QR646 from Doha was redirected to Delhi, India. All outgoing flights were temporarily grounded.
The Himalayan Times is reporting that the airport was supposed to re-open at 5pm but this was postponed until 7pm. Runway excursions are apparently a common occurrence at the airport’s single 3km long runway. According to Sam Chui, the airport has been undergoing a runway upgrade program since April of this year.
In March 2018, a US-Bangla Airlines aircraft crash resulted in the deaths of over 50 people as it burst into flames upon impact.
About the aircraft
The aircraft involved in the incident is an ATR72-500. The specific plane has registration 9N-AMM and is 12.2 years old according to Airfleets.net. The aircraft originally went to Taiwanese carrier TransAsia Airways in 2007. It served the airline until the carrier suspended operations in 2016. From there, the aircraft went to join the Yeti Air fleet through a lease from Nordic Capital.
The ATR 72 is a twin-engine turboprop who’s main use is for short-haul, regional flights. In fact, it mainly competes with the Q400 Dash 8 turboprop. In recent ATR news, Air France’s HOP! recently retired their fleet, while leasing company Nordic Aviation Capital issued a letter of intent at the Paris Air Show to purchase 35 ATR72-600s with the option for a further 35.
Were you affected by the shut down of Kathmandu’s airport? Let us know about your experience by leaving a comment!