A Fly Dubai aircraft departed from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) yesterday (April 9) beyond 10 PM though the airport closes at 10 PM.
Fly Dubai Boeing 737 with call sign FDB574 which was scheduled to depart at 8:40 PM departed at 10:17 PM from TIA to Dubai International Airport (DXB) though the airport closes at 10 PM from April 1 for the renovation work.
The flight has now raised question and suspicion among aviators and other stakeholders as around a week ago National Flag Carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC)’s flight to Dubai was cancelled at last moment stating closure of the airport by Air Traffic Controller (ATC).
The aircraft under Captain Shrawan Rijal was ready for flight with all necessary preparation completed and was ready to take off, but he ATC halted the aircraft as Dragon Air was also scheduled for flight. Dragon Air took off at 9:57 PM and when NAC asked for Push-back, the ATC denied stating closure of the airport.
The aircraft pilot asked around 4 minutes of time for flight as all the passenger were boarded and all necessary preparation was done but the ATC denied for the flight and the flight was conducted on Wednesday morning.
However, the recent incident of Fly Dubai has raised question over flight cancellation of the flag carrier and flight operation of an international carrier beyond the time.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAAN) Airport office had stated that Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was already published months ago and letting flight to operate at the time will lead to violation of law thus had not allowed for flight operation in case of NAC. Yet, allowed flight of Fly Dubai at 10:17 PM yesterday.
Last week, NAC had asked time of 4 minutes to depart the aircraft making departure time 10:01 PM and as per airport official allowing time beyond 10 PM would violate the law and being black listed in European Union (EU) and violating the law would create more issue.
The flight has now created suspicion among various stakeholders about not allowing national operator but allowing international operator to operate flights.
NAC had also questioned about ATC letting aircraft to be boarded and cancelling the flight at end moment and giving priority to foreign airline rather than the flag carrier of the country previously.
The airport had also stated to close airport by 9:30 and time between 9:30-10 PM will be used for delay flights and emergency flights and had stated that NAC official neglected the notice about closure of the airport which was circulated 3 months prior and stated that airline neglected the rules yet they allowed operation of an international flight breaking the rule now.
The incident occurred before the committee formed to probe on flight cancellation of NAC flashed the report. Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) had formed a 5 member committee under Buddhisagar Lamichhane, Joint Secretary of Ministry to investigate on the flight cancellation and was allocated 5 days’ time and now the issue is set to make another investigation.