Lukla Airport- The Entry Point to Mount Everest

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In the Nepalese town of Lukla, in the Khumbu Pasanglhamu, Solukhumbu District, Province No. 1 of the country, is Tenzing-Hillary Airport, also known as Lukla Airport. In 2010, a show called Most Extreme Airports, which was carried on The History Channel, rated it as the most dangerous airport in the world for more than 20 years. The runway at Lukla, Nepal, is perched on a slope and offers breathtaking vistas of the Himalayas as well as a strong sense of risk. 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. Despite the short flight distance, it frequently rains in Lukla when it’s sunny in Kathmandu.

But like the mountain itself, the airport’s peculiarities and the sometimes shifting weather make it one of the most hazardous of its sort in the world; since the airport’s construction in 1964, more than 12 crashes have been reported there. With a height of 2,860 meters (9,383 feet), Lukla Airport is not among the top ten highest airports in the world. Nevertheless, Lukla Airport is situated at a height that poses a challenge for pilots. Because the air density is smaller as altitude increases, aircraft must fly faster to maintain altitude. The runway at Lukla is especially challenging because it is so tiny—just 1,729 feet long. The runway at a typical international airport is over 10,000 feet long.

Lukla Airport: History

Sir Edmund Hillary, who had originally intended to construct the airport on flat farmlands, oversaw its construction in 1964. The airport was established where it is now because local farmers did not want to give up their property. Hillary employed the local Sherpas in the construction of the facilities after purchasing the property from them for US$2,650. According to rumors, Hillary’s answer to the runway’s soil resistance was to buy local alcohol for the Sherpas and instruct them to engage in a foot-stomping dance in order to level the runway’s serving ground. In 2001, the runway was finally paved. The airport was renamed in January 2008 to honor Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary, the first climbers whose ascent of Mount Everest was verified, as well as to recognize their contributions to the building of this airport.

Why is the Lukla airport called an extreme airport?

The airport, which is among the highest in the world (9500 feet above sea level), presents difficulties for flights due to the ever-changing weather. The runway is another factor that is uneven. All of these factors add up to a feeling of uneasiness when it comes to airplane operations at this airfield in the high Himalayas. Its runway is just 1729 feet long, although a length of 6000 feet is ideal in most locations. The Tenzing Hillary Airport can only accommodate light aircraft because of its narrow runway. Due to the strong south-west winds, this unusual airport is renowned for remaining closed from mid- to late morning. Only experienced pilots with at least 100 successful short takeoff and landing (STOL) flights can land at this special airport. Additionally, these pilots must have over a year of STOL experience in Nepal and have flown into Lukla ten times with a licensed pilot.

When is the most advantageous time to visit Lukla?

During the busiest trekking and adventure season, hundreds of hikers fly into and out of Lukla, the hub of the Everest Khumbu region. The seasons have an impact on the weather in Lukla. Typically, the ideal times to visit Lukla town and the Everest region are in the fall (Sept.-Nov.) and spring (March-May). Since the sky is nearly always clear during this time of year, planes are both on time and less dangerous. Spring and autumn are the greatest times to visit Lukla because there are less clouds, the wind is less strong, the airport becomes dry, making landings more secure, and the pilots have excellent vision.

How much does a flight to Lukla cost?

The cost of the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla is only 180 USD per person. 10 kilos of checked baggage and 5 kg of hand luggage are allowed for the 25-minute trip. Indian and SAARC nationals pay only about 147 USD per person for the flight. The cost varies daily, though, and if you’re lucky, you might also find some deals. You can also ask for discounts if your party size is two or greater.

Is there an alternative route to Lukla?

You can also take a vehicle or public bus from Kathmandu to Jiri, a town in the Lower Everest region, and begin your trek from there if you don’t like flying or want to keep it authentic. The journey to Lukla typically takes 3–4 days, during which time you’ll see significantly fewer other hikers, have the majority of the trail to yourself, and pass through picturesque Sherpa communities. The Upper Everest region is home to many of the porters and guides you’ll encounter there.

Is it safe to fly to Lukla?

Lukla Airport, the most hazardous airport in the world, safely handled more than 50 aircraft per day during the busiest hiking and adventure season. Nearly half of the trekkers who travel to Nepal each year typically fly into Lukla airport. Although the Lukla airport is statistically more dangerous than a regular Nepali commercial domestic airport, it is nonetheless relatively secure. The permitted flight conditions and rules for aircraft traveling to Lukla are a major worry for Nepalese aviation authority and regional airlines. A pilot with 100 short-takeoff and landing (STOL) and at least one year of experience in Nepal is given high priority by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal because to the country’s challenging landing and takeoff conditions, weather, and other risk considerations are permitted to land in this airport, as long as they have completed 10 trips to Lukla with a licensed instructor pilot.

Lukla Airport FAQs.

Why Lukla Airport is dangerous?

The topography and runway layout at Lukla Airport restrict emergency responses. Takeoff and landing at Lukla Airport are more challenging and dangerous than at many other airports because to the runway’s elevation, slope, and length, as well as the terrain’s surrounding the airport’s steep and constricting features.

How many planes have crashed at Lukla Airport?

There has been 10 crashes up to date at lukla Airport.
Can you see Everest from Lukla?
Ans: Yes, you can witness the great view of Mount Everest and surrounding peaks from Lukla.

When was the last crash at Lukla Airport?

On October 8, 2008, Yeti Airlines Aircraft 103, an internal flight in Nepal, crashed as it was making its final approach to Tenzing-Hillary Airport in the eastern town of Lukla.

Can you get to Lukla without flying?

Yes, you can get to lukla via Bus, Jeep and Walking from Jiri.

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