Nepal Airlines A330 Experiences Flap Problems Leaving Kathmandu
A Nepal Airlines Airbus A330-200 had issues with its flaps when it departed Kathmandu two days ago. The…
A Nepal Airlines Airbus A330-200 had issues with its flaps when it departed Kathmandu two days ago. The aircraft spent the next hour burning fuel before landing back at the airport undamaged. This event delayed passengers for 27 hours as a replacement A330-200 was secured to complete the flight.
What was the problem with the aircraft?
According to the AV Herald, the aircraft, tail number 9N-ALZ, seemed to have no issues before takeoff, but it was when it departed on flight RA-4271 from Kathmandu to Kunming, China that it encountered a problem. The tower cleared the plane to ascend to 27,000 feet when the crew communicated permission to remain at 17,000 feet while they diagnosed the issue.
Approximately ten minutes later, the crew advised the airport that they needed to return due to a technical problem with the flight controls (specifically the flaps), but they first had to hold to burn off fuel. A fully loaded A330-200 needs to burn off fuel, if they can, before attempting to land as they are too heavy. Looking at the map below, you can see that the pilots circled over the ridge of the mountain range.
After around an hour, the plane requested to enter the landing pattern of the airport. The aircraft landed on runway two at a higher than usual speed (183 knots overground). The aircraft then taxied back to the gate, and the passengers disembarked without incident. In total, the whole incident lasted seventy minutes.
Alas for the passengers, it wasn’t over yet. There wasn’t a spare A330-200 (or similar aircraft capacity) ready yet to fly them onto their destination, so the airline had to delay them up to 27 hours.
A replacement A330-200, tail number 9N-ALY, arrived the next day to take the passengers onwards to their destination without further incident.
As for the original aircraft, it is still on the ground undergoing maintenance in Kathmandu, two days after landing back in after its blotched flight attempt.
Who is Nepal Airlines?
Nepal Airlines is the flag carrier of the named nation, with its hub airport in Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu. It is the oldest registered airline in the country, with its history reaching back to 1958 with a Douglas DC-3 performing the first routes.
The carrier, among other operators in Nepal, is banned from flying to destinations in the EU. This is due to how the government certifies airlines in the country . The government has not split its Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal into two entities, a regulator and service provider as required by the EU.
The airline focuses on international routes from Nepal around to nearby countries such as China and India with its fleet of four aircraft:
- Two Airbus A330-200s (both of which were involved in the story above).
- Two Airbus A320-200s.
The long-haul A330-200s have 18 business class seats (called Shangri-La Class on the carrier) and 256 economy class seats. The smaller A320s have eight business class and 150 economy class seats.
The carrier has also previously used various other aircraft, such as two Boeing 757-200s that were recently retired, the Chinese made Xian MA60 and Harbin Y-12 aircraft, to de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters.
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