Air KBZ Plane Evacuated After Wheels Overheat at Rangoon Airport

By Htet Naing Zaw 28 January 2014

RANGOON — An Air Kanbawza (Air KBZ) airplane was evacuated on the runway of the Rangoon International Airport on Tuesday morning, after smoke began to rise from its wheels while taxiing, according to a statement.

The statement posted on Air KBZ’s official Facebook page said the aircraft was readying to take off on a domestic flight to Heho in Shan State at 7:51 am when its wheels overheated.

All 65 passengers were transferred to another plane after the “technical error,” the statement said, adding that no one was hurt.

“It happened before the takeoff. The wheels got overheated on the runway,” said the Air KBZ general Manager Myat Thu.

Burmese airline Air KBZ is owned by Kanbawza Bank, and part of business empire of tycoon Aung Ko Win. The bank also owns an 80 percent stake in Myanmar Airways International, the country’s international flag-carrying airline, in which the Burma government is the other shareholder.

Burma’s domestic airlines have a patchy safety record, and in December 2012, an Air Bagan flight crash landed near Heho airport, killing one passenger and a motorcyclist who was hit by the aircraft. According to a recent report from Reuters, there were four serious accidents in 2012 among the small number of airlines flying domestic routes in Burma.