Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Stranded B’desh aircraft seeks nine more months for removal from SVA

Raipur: The 183-seater aircraft of United Airways (Bangladesh) Limited, stranded here at Swami Vivekananda Airport (SVA) for the past 2,054 days, will not be airborne for another whole nine months or may be some time beyond this year. For reasonsof its own, the private carrier has sought the aforesaid timeframe for the purpose of selling the stranded aircraft and thereupon paying its parking fee of nearly Rs 1.63 crore to Airports Authority India (AAI). A communiqué regarding the offer of ‘aircraft for sale’ has been received by the authorities here. The stranded aircraft has been parked on a dedicated piece of land, just behind the Wind Indicator Station, situated on the north of main runway (06) here at Swami Vivekananda Airport (SVA) for over 5 years since mid 2015.

 The disclosure surfaced against the backdrop of an official communiqué sent by the aircraft operator United Airways (BD) Limited to AAI after the former was served eviction notice. A copy of the communiqué, which is available with ‘The Hitavada’, however, was received by the Raipur Airport’s Eviction Officer on January 5, 2021. Airport Director Rakesh Ranjan Sahay also happens to be the ex-officio Eviction Officer. The communication sent to SVA has been signed by Director Engineering of the United Airways (BD) Limited, Wing Commander (Engr) M Shahabuddin Ahmed. Sources, in the meantime, explained to ‘The Hitavada’ that multiple government agencies including Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Ministry of External Affairs (MeA) as well as private agencies have been involved in constant communication with the flight operator to evict the stranded plane from the Raipur Airport’s premises since the time it arrived here. “On August 7, 2015, the Muscat-bound United Bangladesh flight (321) with over 165 passengers and aircraft crew on-board was forced to make an emergency landing at SVA after one of its jet engines (MD-83 McDonnell Douglas) developed some major snag,” the sources recalled.

 The AAI authorities have been regularly pushing up the matter with the airlines operator through MoCA and MeA, to evict the aircraft after paying its long-due parking fee, which had been seeing a revised hike of 10 percent per annum, ever since it landed in Raipur. “The exact known amount of parking fee till 31st December, 2020, submitted by the SVA authorities to the Legal Department of AAI, is Rs 1.50 crore. The amount details along with other information were shared by SVA officials in response to AAI’s Legal Department queries which were necessitated after the United Airways (Bangladesh) Limited came up with their offer letter seeking more time to sell out their stranded aircraft and pay the requisite parking fee, which is over Rs 5,000 per day,” the sources disclosed. As per the communiqué, the airline mentioned that it is in the process of selling the aircraft to a suitable buyer and pay the due amount to AAI before the removal of the aircraft from SVA’s premises.

23/03/21 Hitavada

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