The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has struck out against reports with regards to an incident this week involving a flydubai flight operating from Kathmandu to Dubai.
Two managerial staff of the Dubai-based carrier flydubai have now been barred from entering Kathmandu Airport by the regulator, on the claim that they had spread misleading news about the incident.
Alleged bird strike on flight FZ576
A flydubai Boeing 737-800 aircraft experienced engine issues after takeoff on Monday this week, which were widely reported to have stemmed from a bird strike during its departure from Kathmandu.
The civil aviation authority of Nepal has now issued a statement via its social media channels claiming that the report of the bird strike was “misleading news”.
The Nepalese aviation regulator has gone a step further and barred both the country manager and airport manager of flydubai from entering the Kathmandu airport facility.
The statement on the CAAN official Twitter account says:
“Due to the spread of misleading news that there was a bird strike on the FDZ576 (B737-800) Kathmandu-Dubai flight, the country manager and airport manager of Fly Dubai have been stopped from entering the airport, and their airport passes have also been deactivated.”
According to news source AsiaOne, Jagannath Niroula, a CAAN spokesperson, said: “How did the company say it was a case of bird strike. The pilot has not reported that and there is no evidence of it so far. There is no proof or basis for this.”
The flydubai incident
flydubai flight FZ576 was operating from Kathmandu Airport (KTM) to Dubai International (DXB) on Monday 24 April when it reportedly experienced a bird strike during its departure from Kathmandu.
Video footage of the Boeing 737 show the aircraft intermittently emitting flames from one engine as it appeared to be making a return to Kathmandu airport.
Soon after video footage of the aircraft engine emitting flames went viral, the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority released a statement saying that flydubai flight FZ576 Kathmandu to Dubai flight was now operating normally and proceeding to the destination of Dubai as per the flight plan.
The UAE government’s Dubai Media Office tweeted a statement from Fly Dubai saying: “FlyDubai flight FZ576 from Kathmandu Airport (KTM) to Dubai International (DXB) experienced a bird strike during takeoff from Kathmandu.”
This claim has resulted in the retaliatory action taken by the Nepalese aviation regulatory body.
Bird strike issues in Nepal
Aviation bird strikes are generally a serious safety issue for airlines and airports around the world, including Nepal. Nepal is home to a variety of bird species, many of which can pose a risk to aircraft.
The problem of bird strikes in Nepal is particularly acute in areas around airports such as Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and Pokhara International Airport.
These areas are near bird habitats such as lakes, rivers, and wetlands, which attract many birds. The birds can collide with planes during takeoff and landing, causing damage to the aircraft and risking the safety of passengers and crew.
In line with other nations, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has implemented measures to mitigate the risks of bird strikes.
For example, they have established bird control units that use various methods to keep birds away from airport areas, such as using bird distress calls, bird repellents, and bird-scaring devices.
The authority also conducts regular inspections of airport facilities to identify and eliminate potential bird habitats.
Despite these efforts, bird strikes generally remain a concern in Nepal.