Year 5 After Emergency Landing, Bangladesh Plane Still At Raipur

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Atithi Kab Jaoge: A file photograph of the aircraft following an emergency landing at Raipur on August 8, 2015. Source: Vijay Kedia/Twitter

Five years after effecting an emergency landing in Raipur caused by engine failure, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft belonging to a Bangladesh-based carrier, is yet to fly back.

A series of communication sent to officials of the private carrier, United Airways and Bangladesh aviation authorities for its take-off from Raipur was recently reported by the New Indian Express.

The airline has gone out of business and nobody has come back to claim the aircraft, simpleflying said. The website informed that the events started unfolding on August 7, 2015, when a United Airways (not to be confused with American carrier United Airlines) flight from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to Muscat, Oman suffered an engine failure and was diverted to Raipur being the nearest airport. While the passengers onboard found alternate transport to Muscat, the aircraft has since remained on ground.

“It’s been over five years for a Bangladesh-based United Airways plane that made an emergency landing at Raipur and the airport authorities apparently seems perplexed as they await feedback to their series of communication sent to officials of the private carrier and the neighbouring country for its take-off from the Chhattisgarh capital, the newspaper report said.

Besides the letters and the sequence of e-mails to civil aviation authorities of the neighbouring country Bangladesh, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) Regional Headquarter (RHQ) contacted Bangladesh High Commission in Kolkata on September 2 last year, it was reported.

“But so far we haven’t received any concrete response or information from them as the Bangladesh aircraft remains parked since August 2015 and yet to be attended for its take-off. Though, we have been consistent in our communication,” Rakesh Sahay, the Raipur Airport Director said.

The United Airways flight with 173 passengers on board on its way from Dhaka to Muscat made an emergency landing at Swami Vivekananda Airport in Raipur following a technical snag and failure of one of its engines.

No Emergency to Return

Even after the aircraft engineering team from Bangladesh fixed the problem some three years ago, there still is no message from Bangladesh regarding the stranded plane take off from Raipur.

The aviation authorities told the New Indian Express that they were yet to see any definite action initiated to expedite the process by the officials contacted in Bangladesh for the aircraft to be flown back to Dhaka.

The parking charges to be paid by the private carrier keep piling up. “The parking fee is Rs 320 per hour. We are pursuing with the operator for payment and for taking away the aircraft,” Sahay said. The parking charges already crossed Rs. 1.54 crore.

With the United Airways aircraft lying solitarily in the allotted parking space and apparently ignored for so long, the Raipur airport had equally faced a space dilemma and had to shift the plane to other locations within the premises.

The airport officials here are evidently clueless on what recourse the AAI or the Director-General Civil Aviation might initiate as the Bangladesh or private carrier authorities take no notice of the high-priority messages sent to them.

“Any action to be taken will be in accordance with the respective rules and regulations if the ongoing situation lingers on or fails to make headway,” Mr. Sahay was quoted by the newspaper.

Simpleflying said that Bangladeshi authorities arrived in Delhi nearly three weeks after the landing to investigate the causes. However, no one came forward to claim the aircraft, repair it, and finally take it back to Dhaka.

Raipur Airport only has six parking bays, which meant the United Airways flight was occupying prime capacity at the airport, prompting complaints from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to quickly return the plane.

Meanwhile, the website reported that airport authorities in Raipur are eager to get rid of the aircraft and reach their full capacity of six parking bays. But there has been little action despite the communication with authorities in Bangladesh, Raipur Airport is now considering moving the aircraft to another part of the airport or possibly off the premises.

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Deputy Editor, AviatorsBuzz Aditya Anand in his nearly two decades of Journalism experience has tracked Aviation, Travel, and Hospitality closely and reported on it for major publications like The Hindu, Mumbai Mirror, and MIDDAY.