DUBAI: Dubai airport was 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.
Fourteen people were slightly injured in the accident at the Middle East’s busiest airport, officials said.
The plane was carrying 236 passengers and crew. No details of what caused the accident were immediately available but Dubai civil aviation authorities said they were investigating.
“Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight BG006 flying from Dubai to Dhaka had a minor accident during take-off,” the Department of Civil Aviation said in a statement. “Now the airport will be closed for 8 hours minimum to ensure the runway is safe to use.”
Dubai, one of seven emirates comprising the United Arab Emirates, is the major trade and tourism centre in the Gulf region. Dubai airport is the busiest in the Middle East and a major hub for transfers between Europe and Asia.
Passengers at the airport were not told the length of the closure and crowded around TV screens to watch news reports of the accident.
“It’s crazy, I can’t get any sense out of anyone,” said Joe Murphy, 73, in transit on the long-haul trip from Australia to the UK. “All I want to know is what’s happening.”
Some flights were cancelled, while others were delayed or transferred to nearby Abu Dhabi and Sharjah airports. Some passengers complained there was no information about their flights.
“First they told me the flight was on, then it was off,” said Marc Latamie, 54, hoping to take a flight to Paris. “I have no idea what is happening.”
The normally packed airport shopping area was deserted as passengers thronged around information and transfer desks, while others left or were bussed out of the airport.
More than 28.7 million passengers and 1.4 million tonnes of freight passed through Dubai International Airport in 2006, according to its Web site (www.dubaiairport.com).
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.