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When does the FIFA World Cup begin? Bangla Airline plane may have been the primary cause of Monday’s accident, which took the lives of dozens and will clearly make an impact on the tourism sector of a country that is gradually emerging from political turmoil. Kathmandu valley on Monday afternoon at 2. The weather over the valley was cloudy but calm, with winds blowing at six knots per hour from the north as the flight approached Kathmandu from Dhaka.
As the aircraft descended into the valley and approached the airport’s single north-south runway, the conversation between the Air Traffic Control and the cockpit was available as recorded on LiveATC. 20’, the southern and northern ends of the TIA runway. The earlier part of the descent seems to have been handled by a woman pilot in the cockpit, while closer to landing, the communications were taken over by a male pilot. There seems to already have been some concern about the latter pilot’s understanding of the approach procedures, from before the tape segment. I say again, do not proceed towards Runway 20.
Even as the Bombardier is on its way in, Nepali pilots of other aircraft are heard warning the ATC that the Bombardier commander seems confused. You should use radar to get him out of harm’s way. The visibility in the surrounding hills is not good. However, at this point ATC too clears him to land on Runway 02. Fire One Station’ calls the ATC, indicating that a crash has occurred and the airport fire tender is active. The initial outsider’s hypothesis on the air crash was that the aircraft must have skidded off the runway upon landing, and met its fiery end.
However, the aircraft had landed up somewhat down the airfield, by which time the plane would have decelerated. The state of the wreckage, on the other hand, indicated a hard crash. Panday reported that he had seen the aircraft flying an angle to the runway and then make a sharp turn over the airport. The Bombardier had missed the control tower and several parked and taxiing jets and turboprops, and ploughed into earth on the eastern side of the airfield. While a crash investigation report is awaited from the investigation commission set up by the government, it can be said from the tape archive and the eyewitness account that the Bombardier aircraft was doing an unexpected manoeuvre flying that low over the international airport. One possibility the investigation committee will surely look is whether crash happened because of the steep turn at low speed. Such a cause was ascribed by the investigation committee to the crash of an Alliance Air Boeing 737 at Patna Airport on 17 July, 2000.
Three Bangladesh iairlines service this route today, Bangladesh Biman, Regent Air and U. The passengers tend to be Bangladeshi tourists, Nepali students studying in Bangladesh universities, or Nepali migrant workers headed for Malaysia or elsewhere. Kathmandu’s TIA, though a very busy airport with only one runway and a poor record of handling of passengers and cargo, is not considered a hazardous airport and is served by 30 airlines. Back in 1992, there were two wide-body Airbus crashes in the nearby mountains, one of Thai International and another of PIA. The Japanese Government gifted Nepal an approach radar at that point, and a new radar with tracking ability over most of Nepal was inaugurated over the past year. Kanak Mani Dixit is the founding editor of Himal Southasian. The article has been edited post publication.
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