Buddha Air plane lands safely in Kathmandu after technical glitchThe ATR-72 with 73 people returned to Kathmandu after landing gear indicators failed to illuminate before landing at Biratnagar.
A Buddha Air plane carrying 73 people and four crew members from Kathmandu to Biratnagar had to burn fuel over the skies for emergency landing back in Kathmandu on Monday morning after witnessing a technical glitch.
The Kathmandu airport confirmed that the passenger plane had burned fuel to reduce its landing weight.
Pratap Babu Tiwari, general manager at Tribhuvan International Airport, said the plane made a comeback to Kathmandu after one of the two landing gear indicators did not illuminate at the time when it was preparing to land in Biratnagar.
Two individual indicators, one for each gear, indicate the position of the landing gear.
"The landing gear system did not deploy after the plane was preparing to land at Biratnagar airport and the pilot had to fly back to Kathmandu declaring emergency," said Tiwari.
In such situations the pilot may take the rare decision to dump or burn fuel and reduce the aircraft's weight quickly.
"Fuel may be either dumped or burned as the plane's belly had to be empty to prevent explosion in emergency landing," said Tiwari, adding that in case of the malfunction of the landing gear, normally the plane belly would contact the ground while landing.
The flight Buddha Air U4 701 was forced to circle the skies for 24 minutes to burn fuel because normal landing in such a situation would not have been safe with a full fuel tank, he said.
The Kathmandu airport was closed for 30 minutes for emergency landing.
"We were all prepared for the emergency landing," said Tiwari.
But a few minutes later the Buddha Air pilot communicated to the air traffic controller that everything was normal.
"We then checked all safety protocols confirming non-emergency procedures before allowing the plane to land in a normal mode,” said Tiwari.
“The plane landed successfully at 10:16am. The plane will be allowed to conduct regular flights after necessary inspections."
The ATR-72 plane had taken off from Kathmandu at 8:10am.