Two special flights from China took off with more than 300 citizens of China together escaping the lockdown of the country from Tribhuvan International Airport today. The Air China flight ‘CA042’ departed with 162 passengers at 1:15 PM today. The aircraft was an Airbus A330-243 that flew direct to Chengdu, China where it departed from for Kathmandu. The another flight was China Southern ’CZ3002’ that evacuated total of 186 passengers at 2:15 PM today. The aircraft was an Airbus A330-323 and it flew direct to Guangzhou, China where it came from. In total the 2 aircraft carried 348 passengers from Kathmandu to different cities of China.
The Air China flight ‘CA042’ had however, faced a technical problem during its departure at Kathmandu because of which it was on hold at the runway for several minutes for getting lined up to Runway 02 at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). The aircraft had made a hold on the runway for almost 40 minutes before taking off the runway 02. The steering of the nose wheel of the aircraft needed to exceed its steering angle and to get aligned with the runway. The aircraft on normal condition of the runway can easily steer and get lined up itself. But, due to the runway extension work in progress towards Runway 02 of TIA, the nose wheel steering had to exceed its limit to compensate the limited runway and the aircraft was unable to do that. The aircraft was then helped to get lined up with the help of a pushback tug, which is a very normal procedure. The aircraft immediately departed to its destination after the steering was done with the help of tug. The aircraft has already made a safe landing at its destination airport in Guangzhou at 3:30 Nepali Time today.
Nepal also insighting a significant increase in number of Covid-19 positive patients very recently may strengthen its prevailing lockdown and restrict the domes as well as international air travelers for an elongated period of time. Multiple evacuation have been conducted after the first lockdown was laid down.
All the regular national and international flights have been suspended till May 31 with the extension of lockdown period in Nepal. The flights have been banned to prevent the Covid-19 spread in Nepal. However, multiple evacuation flights are being conducted by different countries to evacuate their citizens stranded in Nepal. Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has implied no restrictions for such evacuation, rescue and humanitarian cause flights during the suspension period too.