Dubai airport closed after plane accident

A Staff Reporter
Filed on March 12, 2007

DUBAI - Dubai International Airport will be closed for at least eight hours on Monday after a Biman Bangladesh Airlines aircraft was involved in an accident while trying to take off, officials said. All 236 passengers, including crew, are safe, and were immediately evacuated from the aircraft. Fourteen passengers sustained minor injuries.

“Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight BG006 flying from Dubai to Dhaka had a minor accident during take-off,” the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement. “Now the airport will be closed for 8 hours minimum, starting 0630 hrs, March 12, 2007, to ensure the runway is safe to use.”

There are two runways at the airport, one ofwhich was already closed for construction.

Hundreds of passengers stranded at Dubai airport, as many outbound flights are being cancelled or suspended. Allincoming flightshave been diverted to nearby Abu Dhabi and Sharjah airports, authorities said.

Dubai International Airport, undergoing a $2.5 billion expansion, handled 28.8 million passengers in 2006, an increase of 4 million travellers from 2005.

A total of 113 scheduled airlines operate out of Dubai airport to 194 destinations, offering an average of 700 daily flights carrying about 80,000 passengers, according to the airport’s own record.

The airport expects to handle more than 33 million travellers in 2007 as it maintains an average growth of 15 per cent a year.

Biman, bailed out by a government loan last year, said in December it planned to lease four aircraft so it could reintroduce some routes it had to cut for lack of airworthy planes. Biman stopped flights to New York, Paris, Tokyo, Frankfurt and Brussels last year due to aircraft shortages.

It has been flying to 21 destinations with a fleet of 13 aircraft, although two of had been grounded awaiting repairs.

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