US-Bangla Airlines suspends flights to Nepal indefinitely

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KATHMANDU, March 15 (PTI): The US-Bangla Airlines has suspended flights to Kathmandu for an indefinite period due to ‘shortage of aircraft’, an official has said, two days after one of its planes crashed here, killing 51 people.
The Dhaka to Kathmandu US-Bangla Airlines flight, with 67 passengers and four crew members on board, caught fire after it careened off the runway and ploughed into a football ground near the Nepal’s Tribhuvan International Airport on Tuesday.
“Our flight operations between Dhaka and Kathmandu have been shut from today (Wednesday) due to shortage of aircrafts,” Kamrul Islam, general manager of the US-Bangla Airlines, was quoted as saying by The Daily Star.
However, flights on other domestic and international routes are being operated as scheduled, he said.
The Bangladeshi airline and airport authorities in Kathmandu have blamed each other for the tragedy, after it emerged that there was confusion over landing instructions.
The last four minutes of the conversation between the pilot and Air Traffic Control at the airport indicates a possible confusion in the mind of the pilot about Runway 02 (the southern end) and Runway 20 (the northern end).
Amid rumours of miscommunication between the pilot and the air traffic control causing the accident, the Nepali government formed a panel to initiate an investigation into the crash.
The US-Bangla Airlines said it will continue to cooperate fully with the investigation of all associated government agencies. To facilitate the cooperation, it established an emergency response centre at its headquarters in Dhaka.
The rescued Nepali and Bangladeshi passengers were undergoing treatment in different hospitals in Kathmandu.
Dhaka-based US-Bangla Airlines is one of the sister concerns of the US-Bangla Group, a United States-Bangladesh joint-venture company which began commercial flights in 2014.
The airline has eight planes – with plans to acquire more to serves destinations like India, Malaysia and Qatar, according to a media report.

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