The main gateway to the top of the world, Mount Everest Base Camp, is Lukla Airport, also known as Tenzing-Hillary airport. The naming of the airport is in honor of the first Everest climbers, Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary. At 65 kilometers, this is one of the closest airports to Mount Everest. Lukla airport is situated at an elevation of 2840m above sea level, and it takes 30 minutes to fly from Kathmandu.
The airport was built in 1964 under the supervision of Edmund Hillary and began operations in 1971. With a short (1729 ft.) and narrow runway, Lukla Airport 2846 m/9337 ft. is one of Nepal's busiest domestic airports. Furthermore, it is surrounded by the towering Himalayas and is located at a relatively high altitude of 2840m, which frequently changes the weather and encounters low air pressure. This is why it is regarded as one of the most dangerous airports in the world. Only experienced pilots are permitted to land at Lukla airport. Unfortunately, ten planes have crashed at Lukla Airport so far.
There will be daily regular flights from Kathmandu to Lukla if the weather conditions permit. So, for the regular flight to Lukla, the weather is the most important factor. Because of the small airport and is surrounded by mountains, if there is rain, wind, cloudy or less visibility, and air pressure, flights can be delayed or canceled often. That is why Nepal Trekking Experts always recommend having a couple of buffer days when you are planning to explore the most demanding and classic parts of the Everest region.
Apart from the risky Lukla Airport and flights, exploring the magnificent views of the thrilling Himalayas is equally rewarding and beneficial that are not available anywhere else on the planet.
Tips before heading to Lukla
- Try to get the earliest flight possible. No matter how many hours it has been delayed, without taking the first flight passengers, it won’t take the second or third.
- For the best Himalayan views, try flying to Lukla in the left seat and returning to Kathmandu in the right seat.
- Trekkers will be allowed 15 kg of luggage per ticket. If you have more than 15 kg, you have to pay 150 rupees per kilo which can be paid at the airport.
- At least a buffer day before the international flight is recommended.
- If there are any delays or cancellations, you may try to fly the next day, but regularly scheduled flights will always take precedence. If there is a cancellation, people will fly accordingly. In the worst-case scenario, shared helicopters will be available. It may cost more or less $400 to $500 per person. If you are unable to fly as scheduled, your flight fare will be fully refundable.
Updated Lukla flight for 2023
Lukla is a gateway to the world's tallest peak, Mt. Everest, at 8848.86 m (29031.7 ft). In every corner of the world, people have a bucket list to visit such an iconic wonder once in a lifetime. Since the weather in Lukla will be unstable and many people visit in peak season, in October and November 2022, the Lukla flight will be operated from Manthali Airport, Ramechhap. The international and domestic airports are just next to each other. In the peak season, it will be overcrowded with too much air traffic. As a result, it will be on long-term hold, delayed, and often canceled. This is why operators are switching the airport for reliable service in the peak season such as March, April, May and October, November each year which is 4–5 hours by car from Kathmandu (you may need to organize your transportation or find a sharing transportation if you are trekking without agencies) and 20 minutes by plane to Lukla. The short flight from Ramechhap (Manthali Airport) to Lukla will be more reliable and on time than the hectic flight from Kathmandu. Ramechhap is situated on the bank of the Tamakoshi River at 518 m above sea level. The flight is operated by Tara Airs, Sita Airs, and Summit Airs. If there are any changes, we will keep you updated.
For more details, please do not hesitate to contact our local experts now! Happy Trekking!