Flydubai aircraft lands safely in Dubai after bird strike during takeoff from Kathmandu

DUBAI (Reuters): Flydubai flight FZ 576 has landed safely in Dubai past midnight on Tuesday after experiencing a bird strike during takeoff from Kathmandu.

“Our experienced flight crew followed standard operating procedure and continued the onward journey after determining that the engine was within normal operating parameters. The aircraft landed normally in Dubai and further inspection will be conducted,” a flydubai spokesman said in a statement posted on Twitter through the Dubai Media Office.

“The safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority. We apologize for any inconvenience caused to our passengers’ travel schedule,” the statement added.

But Nepal’s civil aviation authority disputed whether the flydubai plane had been hit by a bird strike in Nepali airspace, calling the UAE carrier’s account of the incident “misleading.”

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) said on Twitter on Tuesday that the airline’s country manager and airport manager had been barred from entering Katmandu airport for spreading “misleading” news about a bird strike.

Flydubai said it would respond shortly to a request for comment on the tweet. The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“How did the company say it was a case of bird strike. The pilot has not reported that and there is no evidence of it so far. There is no proof or basis for this,” Jagannath Niroula, a CAAN spokesperson, said.

Niroula earlier said an engine caught fire on the flydubai Boeing 737-800 plane with 167 passengers on board, shortly after takeoff from Katmandu and the fire had been brought under control.

“Flydubai flight number 576, (Boeing 737-800) Katmandu to Dubai flight is normal now and proceeding to her destination Dubai as per the flight plan,” the Nepali civil aviation authority said in an earlier tweet.