A Turkish Airlines plane that crash landed at Kathmandu airport two years ago will be welcoming ticket holders on-board again – not for a flight, but as the Nepali capital’s first aviation museum.
The Airbus A330 was carrying 224 passengers when it skidded off the runway at Kathmandu’s airport in March 2015, coming to a stop with its nose buried in the grassy verge on the edge of the tarmac.
No one was hurt, but the crash shut Nepal’s only international airport for four days as technicians struggled to move the plane. It was eventually dragged to a disused corner of the airport where it sat rusting for two years – until pilot Bed Upreti had an idea.
“It is unfortunate that the aircraft (had) an accident and was grounded, but I saw a perfect opportunity,” Upreti said. He bought the metal carcass and has invested US$600,000 (RM2.5mil) to turn it into an aviation museum.
Upreti’s first task was moving the 63m plane across the road from the airport to the museum’s lot, which proved harder than expected. He previously brought an abandoned Fokker 100 – which is about half the size of an Airbus A330 – and transported it 500km to Dhangadi in Nepal’s far west, where he also set up a museum though on a smaller scale than this one.
“Transporting that plane across districts was much easier than relocating the Airbus metres away from the airport,” Upreti said.
With all the seat stripped out of the belly of the plane, the new museum feels surprisingly spacious. Upreti hopes that the museum will inspire young minds to become pilots and engineers, and is confident that it will be a hit with visitors. “Passers by are already peeking to get a glimpse,” he said. – AFP Relaxnews