Kathmandu, February 10
A fire broke out in a coffee shop located in the departure area of the international terminal of Tribhuvan International Airport due to short circuit at around 8:00 pm on Monday. The fire fighting team at the airport managed to douse the fire by 8:30 pm.
Although the shop was partially damaged, no human casualty was reported.
It is learnt that the coffee shop owned by Subash Shrestha was being operated flouting the rules of the airport. During the safety audit conducted by International Civil Aviation Organisation in August of 2019, the ICAO had directed shifting the coffee shop from the departure area, citing security threat. Subsequently, a general manager-level meeting of TIA directed the coffee shop owner to vacate the area. However, Shrestha obtained a stay order from the Supreme Court.
In April, Shrestha was found in possession of contraband during security screening at Boarding Gate No 5 of sterile zone at TIA. Around 22,000 Thai baht, 1,380 euros, $10,000 and 80,000 Chinese yuan were confiscated from his baggage.
Shrestha got permission to operate the coffee shop inside the airport when Sharad Singh Bhandari was tourism minister.
Due to the fire, flights at TIA were affected from 8:15pm to 9:25pm. During the period a flight of Silk Air arriving from Singapore was diverted to Kolkata, while other flights were put on hold.
A version of this article appears in print on February 11, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.