How Dangerous is Lukla Airport?- Airport near Mt. Everest

How Dangerous is Lukla Airport?- Airport near Mt. Everest

Published on Nov 09, 2022

Lukla Airport is known as one of the most hazardous airports in the world, and a flight there will provide you with a variety of fascinating and exciting experiences. During the busiest season, 30 to 40 aircraft land at Lukla every day. A maximum of 30,000 trekkers fly into Lukla each year, making up another large portion of the area’s visitor population.

Tenzing Hillary Airport is another name for the airport. In a similar vein, the Lukla airport is statistically risky yet secure as a commercial airport. The most recent accident at the airport was in October 2008. Since then, aviation authorities have improved passenger safety by being more vigilant about aircraft regulations and flight circumstances.

Even so, the flight to Lukla might still be unsettling. The airport’s physical layout, surroundings, travel routes, and landing are what make it exciting. The problems that a flight and its passengers must overcome in this airport are greatly influenced by the weather. Also, it is one of the most dangerous airports in the world. One of the reasons is the short runway and bad weather. On average it does 100 short take-offs and landings.

Only when the weather is stable can the airport operate correctly and perform a safe takeoff and landing. Otherwise, unpredictable weather may cause the flight to be delayed.

Information about Lukla Airport

  • Airport named Tenzing Hillary
  • Elevation: 9337 feet/2846 meters
  • Beginning month: September 1971
  • District 1 in Providence: Solukhumbu
  • Runway Dimensions: 12% gradient and 527 m x 20 m
  • Named for: Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa
  • Radio communication for takeoff and landing is a form of communication.
  • 40 minutes are required to travel from Tribhuvan International Airport.
  • 2008 was the year of naming
  • Schedule operating airlines: Nepal Airlines, Tara Air, Summit Air, and Sita Air
  • Connection to the schedule: Ramechhap, Phaplu, and Kathmandu

The Flight to Lukla Airport

As one of the busiest and smallest airports in the world, Lukla is also one of the most dangerous. One of the most thrilling yet fascinating excursions in the world is flying to Lukla.

The scenery will enthrall you, and you’ll be astounded by the breathtaking vista of the snow-capped peaks that appear to be right outside your window. The Nepalese Himalayas is a goal for tens of thousands of treks worldwide. Thus, thousands of trekkers, climbers, and tourists from all over the world wait impatiently at the Domestic terminal at Kathmandu’s only airport bearing the dream of visiting the breathtaking peaks (Tribhuvan International Airport).

Passengers check in and flights take off following the towering signal, with the goal of experiencing the magnificent Himalayan terrain. Similarly, after taxiing to the end of the runway in preparation for takeoff, the flight departs from Kathmandu airport and heads eastbound to Tenzing Hillary Airport for 30 minutes. After leaving the Kathmandu valley, the aircraft offers an amazing view of picturesque mountains.

You move toward the rejuvenating journey, leaving behind all the job, tension, and daily busy life. The flight also shows off the breathtaking view of Langtang and the Rolwaling mountain range.

The 30-minute flight will soon roost when the hill appears out of the blue when the pilot orients the flight towards it. Finally, the visible track appears where the flight will land in the next minute. The Runway has a sheer drop of 2000ft with a huge wall at the end. Soon, the flight lands at the sublime Lukla.

Weather at Lukla Airport

It is a known truth that the weather in high elevations is erratic. Rain, wind, sun, and storms can all occur on the same day, causing a continual fluctuation in the weather. However, due to its high mountainous location, the weather at Lukla Airport rapidly deteriorates.

Additionally, the local weather has an impact on how well the airport is able to function. As the climate, weather, and temperature are more constant than they are on other days, flights to Lukla start early, at 6 in the morning. The day begins with a buildup of clouds. Flights are conducted using Visual Flight Rules and must go across steep mountains in less than 40 minutes (VFR).

About Lukla Airport

One must endure the risky yet fascinating flight to Lukla before embarking on any adventure in the Nepali Everest region. Tenzing Hillary Airport is a well-known name for the airport in Lukla. It is a domestic airport in Nepal’s Khumbu district.

The airport is renowned across the world for being the riskiest airport in existence. Most persons who want to embark on an adventure or Base Camp trek in the Khumbu Himalayas must go via this airport. It is a well-liked starting place for treks and other adventures into Nepal’s Himalayan area. The Tenzing Hillary Airport in Lukla is surrounded by a chain-link fence and is constantly patrolled by Nepali armed police or civil police.

Elevation of Lukla Airport

It is a well-known fact that the weather is unpredictable at high altitudes. The Lukla Airport elevation is 9337 feet/2846 meters.

Why Lukla Airport is dangerous?

The geology of the airport’s location, together with elements like a relatively short runway and scarce energy, make it one of the most dangerous airports in the world.

Daily Flight to Lukla

A daily flight connects Kathmandu with Lukla. The bulk of the day is spent on the flight’s intake. The flight can only operate when the weather is favorable because Lukla Airport is one of the riskier airports. The flight may be canceled in the event of inclement weather.

Even though the flight only lasts 30 minutes in total, the weather in Lukla is most important for takeoff. When it’s bright in Kathmandu, Lukla could be drenched in rain, because the weather in those two cities is different. Therefore, it is crucial to analyze the weather before the flight takes off. High winds, cloud cover, and shifting visibility are some of the causes that can cause a flight delay.

Sir Edmund Hillary oversaw the construction of the airport in 1964. (1st person to climb Mt. Everest). Hillary had intended to construct the airport on flat farmlands, but because of fierce opposition from the local farmers, the airport was eventually built where it is now.

Sherpas sold the land to Sir Edmund Hillary for $2,650 USD. The first two people to summit Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary, and Tensing Norgay Sherpa, are also responsible for the airport’s name. The airport was renamed “The Tenzing Hillary airport” in 2008.

Geography of Lukla Airport

The Tenzing-Hillary (Lukla) Airport is located in the Province No. 1 rural municipality of Khumbu Pasang Lampu-2 in the Solukhumbu District. The famous tourist site Mount Everest is accessible from here. The Sagarmatha Zone’s Solukhumbu District is where the airport is located. The busiest STOL airport is Lukla Airport, which is also the main airport for earning foreign cash. Additionally, the airport is situated within Sagarmatha National Park’s buffer zone.

Pilots of Lukla Airport

Only seasoned pilots fly out of Tenzing Hillary Airport. Pilots should have more than a year of experience flying in Lukla Airport due to the most hazardous landing.

Only pilots with at least 100 successful short takeoffs and landing (STOL) flights are permitted to land at the airport. The pilots must meet the requirements of having flown 10 flights into Lukla with another licensed pilot and having one year of STOL experience in Nepal.

Its 1,729-foot-long runways are so short that they slope upward at a nearly 12% gradient to help planes slow down in time. Consequently, the skilled pilot is the only one who can conduct a secure flight to Lukla.

Aircraft Types of Lukla Airport

Both helicopters and small fixed-wing propeller planes fly out of Lukla. The Lukla airport in Nepal is surrounded by mountains, and due to its narrow runways, most aircraft can’t land safely there.

Alternative for Lukla Airport

Waiting for a rescheduled flight is the greatest backup plan for airports if your flight is canceled.

To get to Lukla Airport, helicopters can be an alternative to conventional aircraft. In situations where airplanes cannot fly, helicopters can. Helicopters are thus a possible alternative since they are frequently available. One may choose to use helicopter services if their flight is delayed.

The additional fee per person goes from $400 to $600, so it might be somewhat pricey. The price may also change and fluctuate as demand increases. The number of seats occupied determines how much a helicopter costs. In general, the price ranges from $2500 to $3000 USD. The cost can be divided among the group flying (minimum $400 USD to maximum $3000 USD per person), with a total capacity of 4-6 passengers.

Should one be afraid of flying to Lukla?

One shouldn’t be afraid to fly to Lukla even though it is one of the riskier flights. The constantly shifting weather and poor visibility increase the likelihood of crashes, while they are uncommon. As a result of the significant altitude difference between Kathmandu and Lukla, the weather varies. The weather when leaving Kathmandu and landing in Lukla is not the same.

Despite having a history of crashes dating back to its establishment in 1964 A.D., the airport has seen 11 reported accidents. Numerous accidents and fires have occurred as a result of weather circumstances.

The majority of crashes, according to information from the Lukla Airport Crash, are caused by poor visibility and frequent weather changes. Therefore, Lukla Airport is safe for flying with knowledgeable pilots and accurate weather pattern evaluations. As a result, the weather in Lukla, rather than the airport’s negligence regarding safety, is to blame for the accidents. As a result, hundreds of people travel to Lukla Airport every day since it is safe to fly there.

Things to consider for Lukla’s flight

  • We recommend you take an early flight because Lukla flights are sometimes late due to unforeseen weather conditions. First flights are more likely to experience greater visibility and more reliable weather.
  • For the breathtaking perspective of the mountain, getting a seat on the left side may be advantageous.
  • In order to avoid the traffic jams at Tribhuvan International Airport during the busiest season, anyone who wants to travel to Lukla should drive four hours to Ramechhap.
  • The check-in window for the flight opens one hour before departure.
  • Only 15 kilos of checked baggage is permitted per passenger on the trip. Therefore, if you are overweight, it will cost USD 1 per kilogram.

Update on Lukla Flights

  • All Lukla flights in this summer’s schedule will depart from Ramechhap airport due to an increase in traffic at Tribhuvan International Airport. The Civil Aviation Authority developed this concept in response to the large number of aircraft and visitors to Lukla.
  • Among the STOL airfields operated out of Kathmandu, Lukla has the busiest airport during the tourist season.


Because it serves as the beginning point for treks to Mount Everest Base Camp, the airport is well-known. In excellent weather, there are regular flights between Lukla and Kathmandu during the day. Even though it is only a short flight, it frequently rains in Lukla while it is sunny in Kathmandu.

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