A senior manager who runs the operations of the low-cost Persian Gulf airline flydubai in Nepal has had their security clearance for Kathmandu Airport revoked after the country’s civil aviation regulator said that there had been ‘misleading’ statements put about a recent flight from the airport.
On Monday, flydubai flight FZ576 from Kathmandu to Dubai suffered an apparent technical issue with one of its engines shortly after takeoff from the Nepalese capital, although the flight continued onto Dubai and landed safely.
Onlookers on the ground captured video of what appeared to be flames shooting out of one of the engines of the 10-year-old Boeing 737-800, while video shot from inside the plane showed the darkened passenger suddenly light up with a bright orange flash shortly after takeoff.
Rather than diverting for checks to be carried out, the aircraft continued onto Dubai as normal, prompting widespread speculation on social media.
Dubai’s public-facing government media office quickly addressed the incident, quoting a flydubai spokesperson as saying that the plane had experienced a bird strike shortly after takeoff.
“After following standard procedure the flight will continue as normal to Dubai,” the statement, attributed to a flydubai spokesperson, continued.
The following day, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal seemingly disputed that version of events, saying that news of a bird strike on the flight was “misleading” and that, as a result, “the Country Manager and Airport Manager of Flydubai have been stopped from entering the airport and their airport passes have also been deactivated.”
Flydubai did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but a spokesperson has been quoted as saying that the flight crew followed standard operating procedures after takeoff from Kathmandu and “determined that the engine was within normal operating parameters”.
The airline says that further inspection of the engine is being carried out, and Nepalese regulators are carrying out a technical review.
The aircraft (A6-FED) has now flown since landing back at Dubai International Airport on Monday night.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.