Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Biman accident closes Dubai airport for 8 hours

Biman A310Yesterday was a chaotic day at Dubai International Airport (DXB) in the United Arab Emirates.

First, a Cathay Pacific freighter arriving early in the morning from Frankfurt burst a tire on landing. Although shredded bits of the tire were scattered over the runway, according to Khaleej Times, the B747-300 aircraft was able to taxi to the ramp. No one was injured in the incident.

Only minutes after the Cathay Pacific freighter mishap, an Airbus A310 operated by Biman Bangladesh Airlines experienced a nose wheel failure during its takeoff roll. It is unclear from press reports whether the fault was with a tire or some other aspect of the nose gear.

At least one report, attributed to a Dubai Civil Aviation (DCA) official, said that "the wheel sustained damage due to the pressure of the brakes." If that is accurate, it suggests that the nose gear may have collapsed due to rejected takeoff.

In any case, the forward section of the aircraft slammed to the tarmac, and the plane skidded down the runway. Photos taken at the scene after the accident show the A310 resting on its engine nacelles, with the fuselage tilted markedly forward.

Biman Flight BG006, with 236 souls on board, was departing Dubai for Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. After the aircraft came to a rest, passengers were evacuated using emergency slides. Gulf News is reporting that 27 people were injured, but only one needed to be hospitalized. There was no word on whether any crew were among those injured.

The accident caused DXB to shut down for about eight hours, according to a press release issued by Dubai International Airport. During that period, 36 aircraft departures were canceled and 35 incoming flights had to be diverted to other airports, including Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Al Ain, and Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE; and to Muscat, Oman; Kuwait; and Shiraz, Iran.

Gulf News is predicting that financial losses due to the eight-hour shutdown of DXB will likely run into the millions.
While there are no clear estimates of the financial impact resulting from the disruptions, airlines will be affected from the loss of revenue from the cancelled flights. And with the diverted flights, airlines will also bear the costs involved with transporting passengers by bus or plane back to Dubai.

"It's very difficult to measure the financial impact of this sort of disruption, but it will certainly be in the millions of dirhams," said David Kaminski-Morrow, editor of Air Transport Intelligence.
The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and DCA are investigating the cause of the accident.

UPDATE: Click here to view a YouTube video of the Biman accident, apparently captured by a security camera at Dubai International Airport.

[Photo Source]