New Delhi: The Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu was shut on Saturday after a massive earthquake rocked Nepal just before noon, resulting in the cancellation of all the eight subsequent return flights from India bound for the capital city.

An IndiGo flight for Nepal, which left at 11:30 a.m. from New Delhi, had to be recalled and the departures of two others were suspended, according to authorities here. The flight of Nepalese carrier Buddha Air, bound for Varanasi, was among the eight that were called off.

The earthquake struck at 11:41 a.m. India time.

The officials also said an Air Arabia flight from Sharjah to Kathmandu was diverted to the Indian capital. An Indigo flight was also called back from Kathmandu, while the departure of two flights of Jet Airways and Air India were stayed, they added.

“SpiceJet flights to Kathmandu are on hold till we get more news on the impact of earthquake and the readiness of Kathmandu airport,” a spokesperson told IANS. “Due to Kathmandu airport closure, following flights for today stand cancelled,” Jet Airways said and listed two flights each, from and to Kathmandu. 

Eight return flights from India — five from New Delhi and one each from Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi — were to connect with Kathmandu on Friday.

The principal airport in Nepal suffered damage in the quake that measured 7.9 on the Richter scale, reports reaching here said.

Sources at Indira Gandhi International Airport said modifications will be made in the schedules once a clear picture emerges. “We are assessing the situation,” an official said.

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