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IAF Reaches Out with Help to Nepal to Clear Blocked Runway

New Delhi/ Kathmandu. The Indian Air Force (IAF) delivered a critical aircraft Accident Recovery Kit (ARK) to clear a Turkish Airlines Airbus A330 aircraft that skidded and blocked the single runway at the Kathmandu airport March 4.

Nepal requested India for help through the diplomatic channels, and IAF was informed of the mishap on the evening of that date.

The kit was available with Air India, but no civilian airliner could land at the single runway at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). IAF did ‘fantastic’ coordination in getting the kit loaded onto a C 130J Super Hercules and simultaneously getting required clearances from the Ministry of External Affairs and Indian Customs and Immigration authorities. The kit, along with a dozen Air India personnel, was delivered to Kathmandu on March 5 despite fog.

Notably, Air India delivered the kit during the night, and at about 0515h, its loading on the IAF aircraft at Delhi’s Palam airport began. According to an IAF spokesman, “the synchronization between the various elements of the Government machinery worked to such perfection that the C-130J was airborne at 1107 hrs for Kathmandu, with 7.5 tonnes of load and 11 technical crew from Air India.”

Air India personnel lifted the nose of the aircraft onto a truck, placed huge airbags under the wings, replaced the aircraft’s wheels and then moved it from the grass where it was stuck.

The airport resumed operations after four days. Some 80,000 international passengers were stranded during the period. Domestic flights with smaller aircraft continued though. Nepal’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism.

Luckily, there were no casualties.

© India Strategic