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Lukla Airport- a tiny airport, the gateway to Khumbu Region

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Lukla Airport on Google Map

Flying into Lukla Airport is an experience unlike any other. It’s situated at 2800 metres. And the Airport is encircled by some of the most spectacular mountain scenery. However, getting there is half the fun, as the approach to the Airport involves a dramatic descent through narrow canyons and between towering peaks. Once you land, you’ll feel like you’re on the highest of the planet!

History

Lukla Airport was built in 1964, and later in 2008, Nepal Government officially decided to give the name Tenjing-Hillary Airport after Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa. They were the first climbers to summit Mount Everest on May 29, 1953, at the universe’s top. And the reason behind this was obviously to honour them as the first climbers. At the time of their Everest Expedition, the Lukla, where the Airport exists now, was originally used as a base camp for mountaineers attempting to climb Mt. Everest.

Location

As stated above, the official name of the Airport is Tenjing-Hillary airport, commonly known as the Lukla airport, which is geographically located in Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality, Lukla, Solukhumbu District. The Lukla airport is the only airport gateway for a visit to Everest Base Camp and the summit of the world’s highest mountain.

Geographical Features

The Airport is at an elevation of 2,804m. And it is situated on a small plateau at the end of a valley with mountains on both sides. It’s a tiny airport with a single runway, which is about 527 m long and 20m wide with a slope of 12 degrees from north to south. Despite this, the Airport sees over 50 flights per day during peak season, as Lukla Airport is the only gateway to reach the Everest Base Camp.

Lukla Airport
Lukla Airport (Tenjing-Hillary Airport)

What makes Lukla Airport unique?

Lukla Airport is one of the unique airports in the world. Located in the Himalayan region of Nepal, the gateway to Mount Everest, as stated above.

Despite the challenges, Lukla Airport is a vital lifeline for the people living in Khumbu in the trans-Himalayan region. It allows them to bring in supplies and tourists, which are essential for local economic development.

What makes Lukla Airport even more unique is its location. It is nestled between mountains, with a sheer drop-off at one end of the runway. As a result, it’s quite a challenging airport for landing, even for the most experienced pilots. In the past, travellers considered the Airport “the most unsafe airport in the world”. However, the past has passed; many things have changed in the safety measures of the Airport.

Why is Lukla Airport now considered safe for flying now?

The Airport has been undergoing renovations since 2013. The most recent renovation was in 2016 and included constructing a new terminal building, a new control tower, a black top-up on the runway, and the management of the lighting system on the runway. Thus, the recent improvements have made the Airport much safer for flights. As an output, the number of visitors to the Khumbu region for the Everest trek has increased. Consequently, this has positively impacted the local economy, an outcome of community development.

Nepal is safe after Covid 19

The country had made rigorous efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, including closing its borders and suspending all international and domestic flights, including the Lukla Airport. Now, Nepal has been Covid-19 free. As a result, the country has been declared COVID-19-free by the World Health Organization. 

Nepal’s tourism industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, with many hotels and restaurants closing their doors. However, after Covid-19 was free, the country is now open for business and is attracting tourists back to its stunning mountains and valleys. Lukla Airport was also closed for three months because of the pandemic. However, it reopened and is now fully operational.

Serenity

Lukla Airport is one of the most beautiful places in Nepal. It is situated in the mountains and surrounded by forests. The scenery around the Airport is breathtaking. The mountains are very tall, and there are many forest areas. The Airport is ideal for getting away from the city life’s hustle and bustle and starting your adventure for hiking or climbing. Lukla Airport is the perfect destination if you want a place to relax and enjoy nature.

Hospitality

Despite the dangers, Lukla Airport is very popular with tourists who want to trek to Mount Everest Base Camp or visit other parts of the Nepalese Himalayas. The Airport has become known for its friendly hospitality, and many staff members are fluent in English. The Airport has a restaurant and several souvenir shops. Most airlines that service the Airport have their lounge for business class passengers, serving meals on proper china with formal silverware and tablecloths. The lounge also offers free wifi, newspapers, magazines, and board games.

Correlations between Lukla Weather and the Flights

In addition to the challenging terrain, the weather in Lukla can also be very unpredictable. The Airport is 2,800m above sea level around mountains. Because of its location and elevation, the Airport is subject to weather that can affect flights because of strong winds and low visibility. These conditions can make it impossible for planes to land or take off. However, during pleasant weather, Lukla Airport operates more than 50 flights per day.

How Lukla Weather affects Flights

Lukla Airport is often closed during pre-monsoon and post-monsoon because of heavy snowfall and high winds. For example, in early October 2022, the Airport was closed for nearly a week because of the bad weather. It caused disruptions for many travellers who were trying to reach Mount Everest base camp.

Alternative routes to get to Lukla

In addition to flight, there are other alternative options to get to Lukla, with a flight from Kathmandu to Phaplu airport, just below the valley of Lukla, but it takes 2 – 3 more days to arrive in Lukla. As a result, travellers will need to extend their holiday in the Everest region. Similarly, another alternative option is to start your trek from Jiri after 1 day-long drive from Kathmandu. The trek starting from Jiri is well-known as the Legendary Classic Everest Base Camp Trek because the reason behind is that the route was used by Sir Edmund Hillary and his team at the time of their expedition to the highest mountain in the world.

Some of the Best Sources for Lukla Weather Right Now

Lukla Airport is one of the most engaged and busiest airports in Nepal. And well-known as the most dangerous Airport in the past, but it’s safer now, as stated above. Unfortunately, no roads leading to Lukla, so all travellers must take a flight to get there. 

The weather in Lukla can be very unpredictable, and it is important to know the current conditions before flying into the Airport. Thus, here are some of the most acceptable sources for Lukla weather updates:

1. Nepal Meteorological Department is Nepal’s official weather information source. The website provides hourly updates on the condition of the weather in Lukla.

2. AccuWeather is a global leader in weather information and forecasting.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Lukla Airport is an amazing place full of adventure. It is a great place to visit if you want to go hiking or camping. There are many fresh trails to explore, and the scenery is breathtaking. So if you are looking for an adventure, Lukla Airport is the perfect place to start your journey.

Nepal is safe, and so is Lukla Airport. Carefully arrange your trip with a trusted tour company, with a 99.9% success rate-NepalHiking.com.

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