Airline boss also says the plane fully complies with International Civil Aviation Organization norms
A technical fault forced a US-Bangla Airlines flight to make an emergency landing at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong last month, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the carrier said on Wednesday.
Imran Asif said the flight, which left Dhaka for Cox's Bazar on September 26 with 171 passengers on board, made the unscheduled stop after the nose gear of the aircraft failed to open.
"The Chittagong incident was not an accident, but just an incident," Imran told a press conference at a hotel in the city.
After identifying the technical problem, Captain Zakaria Sabuj kept US-Bangla flight BS-141 in the air for a long time in order to deplete its fuel for a safe landing.
“There was no way to fix the nose gear while airborne,” Sabuj said.
Sabuj then decided to ground the aircraft at Shah Amanat International Airport, as Cox's Bazar airport is not equipped for an emergency landing.
Responding to safety concerns over the incident, CEO Imran Asif said US-Bangla operates its domestic and international flights while maintaining the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
"Before take-off, any US-Bangla flight undergoes technical checking three times,” he said.
“Foreign engineers check the aircraft a day before the flight, and it is then checked by local engineers. Afterwards, the captain of the aircraft re-checks it after receiving certificates. Only upon the completion of these checks, is the aeroplane declared ready for take-off.”
Imran said a total of 17 engineers from Europe, Canada, and the United States have been appointed to examine the aircraft, along with 62 expert-level local engineers.
Also at Wednesday’s briefing, the CEO denied allegations published in various newspapers that US-Bangla Airlines pilots have to operate an excessive number of flights.
“A pilot can perform his duties for 14 hours according to international rules,” he said. “During this time, they can operate flights for 11 hours maximum without any pressure."