• Last Updated on Feb 15, 2024

Lukla flight is one of the world's most exciting and risky flights; just saying it may make many experienced trekkers skin crawl. The plane lands at Tenzing-Hillary Airport at a height of 2,860 meters in the Lukla village in the Everest region. A little settlement called Lukla is located in the Khumbu region of Nepal's northeast. All trekking and climbing excursions in the Everest region begin and end in this same place. 

Numerous trekkers and mountaineers fly to Lukla yearly to participate in the Everest Base Camp (5,364m) and Mt. Everest Expedition (8,848m) expeditions. Along with its well-preserved natural beauty, it has long been a popular travel destination. Most visitors to Sagarmatha National Park, which is home to the Everest Base Camp climb, Gokyo Lakes, Everest Three Passes, and more, begin their ascent at the mountain settlement of Lukla, which is located at 9,318 feet / 2,840 meters above sea level.

Lukla is the highest and most remote point where airplanes can operate in the Everest region. Tenzing Hillary Airport (LUA) is well known for its unusual runway, a 527-metre/1,728-foot landing strip that slopes steeply down the side of a Himalayan cliff. A memorable part of your travels will undoubtedly be taking off above the Himalayas and landing in Lukla.

Lukla Airport was built in 1964 under the watchful eye of Sir Edmund Hillary. Remarkably, it wasn't until as recently as 2001 that the airport's runway received proper paving. The airport is nestled amidst a landscape dominated by mountains and rolling hills. Simply say it's a thrilling but beautiful flight. 

There is a wall at one end, and at the other, there is a sudden plunge into a valley below. The airport runway is unusually short at 1,729 feet. Ktm and Lukla's weather frequently differs substantially while the plane is in flight. In such cases, the twin otters turn around and return to Ktm. Cancellations from Lukla are common since most flights are scheduled for the early morning and because the afternoons are so frequently cloudy.

There are generally 3 approaches to Lukla airport from Kathmandu: by plane, the most practical option; by land conveyance (jeep) via Jiri or Phaplu; or by Going with Kathmandu to Helicopter options.

To get to Lukla, the jeep ride may take a few days. Due to the developments, many road networks have been built so snow trekkers can arrive at Thamdanda after a day-long journey. The subsequent days need several hours of hiking to get to Lukla.

Lukla Airport is situated 138 kilometers away from Ktm when measured in a straight line. The journey from Kathmandu's domestic airport to Lukla is a short 30-minute scenic flight. This flight to Lukla not only treats passengers to breathtaking vistas of the Himalayas but also offers a sneak peek into the challenging terrain awaiting trekkers, hikers, and climbers.

Travelers are willing to take on all of the danger for the breathtaking adventure that lies ahead despite the difficulty of the journey and the hike to EBC itself. This blog provides all the information related to the Lukla flight, like its routes, costs, other options, flight cancellations, and many more. 

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Lukla Flight Is Safe?

The Lukla airport is known for being the most dangerous airport globally. Nevertheless, it's worth noting that during the peak season, approximately 20 to 30 aircraft land at Lukla daily, and nearly all of the 30,000 trekkers who annually explore the region arrive by air. Despite having higher statistical risks than conventional commercial airports, Lukla Airport is generally considered safe if we ignore the previous records. 

The most recent incident involving a passenger aircraft occurred in October 2008, and since then, airlines and aviation authorities have tightened their standards for what constitutes an appropriate flying environment. Although passenger safety has significantly increased as a result, the flight to Lukla can still be unsettling for some. 

Our primary concern is the safety of our customers, and to ensure that, we prioritize booking them on one of the earliest flights of the day. Once you've confirmed your trek and provided us with your passport details, we'll promptly secure your flight reservation. Due to its geographic location and further erratic weather, Lukla Airport is regarded as the world's most difficult and dangerous airport. The airport's short runway, which has a length of 527 meters (1,729 feet) by 30 meters (98 feet) and an elevation of 2,845 meters (9,334 feet), makes it simple for aircraft to land and take off.

There is always some risk associated with flying. Still, the safety record of the journey to Lukla is generally good, and many people have already travelled there and are still doing so today. The airlines work with the greatest and most skilled pilots, who are prepared to manage difficult situations. Tiny, twin-engine aircraft are typically used for these flights since they are suitable for the terrain and, of course, the short runway.


When Is The Safest Time To Take a Lukla Flight? 

Lukla flights are greatly influenced by weather conditions, which can significantly affect their success. Despite being accessible in all weather conditions, Lukla Airport's high mountain elevation often leads to deteriorating weather. Therefore, most flights are strategically scheduled during the early morning when the skies are clear and wind interference is minimal.

In favorable weather conditions, the flight to Lukla is a thrilling and awe-inspiring experience that immerses every traveler in the splendor of nature. Fortunately, the weather tends to remain stable and pleasant during the spring and autumn, which are also prime periods for Everest treks, climbs, and expeditions. These seasons offer clear skies, gentler winds, and a dry airport, ensuring safer landings and granting pilots excellent visibility. Consequently, flights are punctual and less risky.

You can typically expect remarkably clear mornings during the spring season, encompassing March, April, and May. Although delays may occur occasionally, outright cancellations are infrequent and brief during this period. Once you've arrived in Lukla, you can relish your journey while savoring breathtaking mountain vistas and the vibrant display of blooming rhododendrons and other wildflowers.

What About Lukla Flight Routes?

Due to its challenging terrain and unpredictable weather conditions, accessing Lukla by air has become an adventure in itself. Two main flight routes connect Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, to Lukla: the direct Kathmandu to Lukla route and the Ramechhap Manthali - Lukla route. Each route presents its own set of unique experiences and challenges, catering to travelers seeking the thrill of reaching Lukla and embarking on their Himalayan adventure. 

Kathmandu to Lukla

While there are always flights between Kathmandu and Lukla, there are usually more choices during the peak trekking months (March to May and September to November). Lukla can be reached from Kathmandu in 30-35 minutes via scenic flight. Every flight is often booked for the morning since the conditions are ideal and you can see the mountains well. The afternoon weather turns erratic and unpredictable, making takeoff and landing extremely challenging. 

Numerous airlines operate small aircraft, such as the Dornier Do 228 and DHC-6 Twin Otter, with a typical capacity of around 15 passengers. Flights predominantly begin in the early morning, usually around 6 a.m., owing to the unpredictable mountain weather, which tends to increase cloud cover as the day progresses. 

We strongly advise trekkers to book the earliest flight of the day, as this time frame offers the most favorable weather conditions for successful takeoffs and landings. Three main airlines frequently provide Lukla flight service via this route: Tara Air / Yeti Airlines, Summit Air, and Sita Air.

Kathmandu to Ramechhap Manthali- Lukla  

The route from Kathmandu to Ramechhap Manthali to Lukla offers an alternative way to access the Everest region. 

Ramechhap, a district located 146 kilometers east of Kathmandu, is an alternative route for travelers when direct flights from Kathmandu to Lukla are impractical. In the Bagmati Province's Ramechhap District, Ramechhap Airport is nestled within Manthali Municipality, positioned along the banks of the Tamakoshi River. This airport becomes a bustling hub, particularly during the tourist season, facilitating Lukla and Phaplu Airport flights.

Throughout the year, trekkers must take a 4-hour journey from Kathmandu to reach Ramechhap Airport for their flights to the Everest region. Accessible transportation options include buses, jeeps, and private cars connecting Kathmandu to Ramechhap. Notably, during the peak trekking seasons of October to November and April to May, flights from Manthali to Lukla are readily available, with a swift 15-minute flight duration connecting the two destinations.

Opting for a flight from Ramechhap Airport presents a distinct advantage: The airport exclusively caters to flights destined for Lukla, eliminating potential delays or cancellations due to air traffic congestion. With a higher frequency of flights and shorter flight durations, even adverse weather conditions in Lukla do not lead to extended backlogs. However, it's important to note that Ramechhap lacks the comprehensive facilities found in Kathmandu, so travelers should anticipate a more basic environment and be adequately prepared for such conditions.

What are the options for Lukla's flight?

Flights from Ramechhap (Manthali) to Lukla: 

Flying to Lukla Airport can also be done from Ramechhap Airport, also known as Manthali Airport. All flights from Kathmandu to Lukla and back were diverted to Manthali Airport in 2019 owing to heavy traffic and runway work at Tribhuvan International Airport. Because Lukla is a popular hiking destination and one of the smaller domestic airports, it sees a rise in travelers. The airport management diverted all aircraft to Manthali Airport to maintain airport traffic. Manthali Airport is approximately 4 hours from Kathmandu, and the flight takes 20 minutes. Flying from Manthali Airport to Lukla is simpler, and takeoff is possible even when the weather is unpredictable. 

Multiple Airlines:

Various airlines operate flights to Lukla from Kathmandu. Popular airlines for this route include Tara Air, Yeti Airlines, Sita Air, and others. Having multiple airlines to choose from provides flexibility regarding flight schedules and pricing. Different airlines may have varying levels of service and comfort, so it's advisable to research and select the one that best suits your preferences and needs.

Early Morning Departures:

Yes, early morning departures for Lukla flights are indeed available and highly recommended. The option of early morning flights is widely accessible for travelers heading to Lukla from Kathmandu, Nepal. These flights typically start around 6 a.m. Travelers planning a journey to Lukla should prioritize booking these early morning flights to maximize their chances of a successful takeoff and landing. This option enhances safety and ensures a smoother and more reliable travel experience, especially when going for your Everest Region treks. 

Booking in Advance:

The Everest Region is among Nepal's busiest and most well-liked trekking locations. As a result, finding flight tickets to Lukla can be challenging if you do not make a reservation in advance. Therefore, you have the choice to reserve your Lukla trip in advance. Additionally, doing so enables you to select the seat on the aircraft of your choice. Booking your tickets early will help you get the ideal spot for the once-in-a-lifetime trip.

What are the chances of Lukla's Flight Getting Cancelled or Postponed?

When embarking on an adventure to the breathtakingly beautiful region of Lukla in Nepal, one question that often looms in the minds of travelers is, "What are the chances of a Lukla flight getting canceled or postponed?" This is a crucial concern, as the Lukla Airport, also known as Tenzing-Hillary Airport, is infamous for its challenging terrain and unpredictable weather conditions. 

Let us tell you there is a high chance of the Lukla fight getting postponed or canceled. In fact, given that the weather is usually at its finest in the morning, the day's final flight is always the one that is most likely to be canceled. If the final flight is canceled, the next morning's first flight may be canceled or merely diverted because the same aircraft will be at Lukla or Ramechhap.

The flights between Kathmandu and Kathmandu may occasionally experience delays of a few minutes to several hours due to bad and unpredictable weather conditions. The beginning and end of the rainy season and when there is a lot of aviation activity.

The Lukla airport's runway is only a short distance long, and it ends with a cliff that faces forward. Just light aircraft, such as Dornier and Twin Otters or Lukla Helicopter Flights, can fly because there is just one runway with a tiny area. In Lukla, the weather and visibility can quickly change. The normal flight schedule is challenging under these circumstances. 

Even after taking off from Kathmandu towards Lukla, flights may have to return to Kathmandu due to clouds rising at the airport in Lukla. Postponed and canceled Lukla flights are totally acceptable. It could occur any time of the year, but notably during the start and end of the monsoon season (late May and early September).

What are the alternative options for Lukla's Regular Flight by Plane?

Via Helicopter to Lukla

Booking a Kathmandu to Lukla helicopter service is the greatest alternative for a regular Lukla flight. This is perfect for vacationers with limited time but not a limited budget. Although pricey, a chartered helicopter is the most dependable way to go to Lukla.

To use this option, drive to the Tribhuvan International Airport's (TIA) domestic terminal in Kathmandu and then board a Heli to Tenzing Hillary Airport. From Kathmandu, a helicopter must travel roughly 45 minutes to Lukla Airport. If the flight to Lukla is canceled or postponed due to bad weather, the best backup plan is the helicopter flight. The weather affects flights to Lukla. Therefore, flights on conventional carriers may frequently be canceled or postponed. For more information on Kathmandu to Lukla flights for 2024 and 2025, click here

helicopter Ride

Via Road and On Foot to Lukla

Even though it is far less common, walking to Lukla is still a viable alternative option to Lukla Flight. In fact, If you have a few extra days to spare, this is a great way to avoid the ambiguities of Lukla flights. You have various possibilities for going to Lukla on foot, as shown below:

Drive Via Phaplu to Tham Danda

You can take a jeep and travel to Tham Danda Via Phaplu if you strictly want to avoid the inconvenience of the Lukla flight. You can begin your trip to Lukla after staying in the village for one night.

In the last few years, the roads of the Solu region have been extended. Now, you can find private and shared jeeps from Kathmandu that take you to the small village of Thamedanda. First, you must catch a jeep from Kathmandu and set off on a 9-hour drive to Phaplu. Upon arrival, you'll continue the ride for the next six hours from Phaplu to Thamedanda. You can reach Lukla in two days of trekking from this remote village.

Hence, this is the fastest route to get to Lukla by road and on foot.

Drive to Jiir and Then Trek

Getting to Lukla via Jiri is often considered the "Pioneer's Route." The early-day explorers used this route to reach Lukla before constructing the airport. This route is much longer and comparatively less popular in recent years. However, it is considered the best option for avid trekkers who prefer authentic experiences. This route offers beautiful mountain views, monasteries, terrace farms, forested trails, and remote villages.

Jiri is located 190 kilometers from Kathmandu, which takes about 9-10 hours to drive. Likewise, the trek from Jiri to Lukla takes around 7 to 8 days.

How Mountain Rock Treks can help you with Lukla Flight?

Even if you have not booked different Everest region treks with us for those seeking alternatives, we also offer a Kathmandu to Lukla helicopter Flight service, ensuring a swift and efficient route to Lukla. Furthermore, we provide alternative land routes via Jiri or Phaplu, all at affordable rates. Your journey with Mountain Rock Treks is not just an adventure; it's a commitment to your convenience and safety. We'll secure your Lukla flight before your arrival, aiming to secure a spot on one of the first two flight batches. The sooner you book and provide us with your passport details, the better your chances of catching an early flight.

If you've already booked your trek to the Everest region through Mountain Rock Treks, rest assured we've covered your Lukla flight. Our commitment to your smooth journey means we take care of the flight to and from Ramechhap Manthali Airport if you cannot travel from Kathmandu to Lukla. Given that Lukla flights typically depart early in the morning, we ensure an early start, usually five to six hours ahead of the scheduled departure time.

In case of flight cancellations due to rough weather, we've got your back. Ensure you have a few extra days planned in Nepal if your trek includes a flight to Lukla. Weather-related flight cancellations to Lukla are common, particularly in late spring and early autumn or September and early October. 

If there is a flight cancellation. The ticket will be rebooked. However, seats are given preference for those initially scheduled for that day, meaning that travelers with canceled flights from earlier are given less priority. Moreover, We can also arrange accommodation for you in Manthali or Lukla if required. 

How Big Is Lukla Airport (Tenzing Hillary Airport)?

The elevation of Lukla Airport, also known as Tenzing-Hillary Airport, is 2,845 meters (9,334 ft) above sea level. The location's high altitude poses particular difficulties for the runway's design and aircraft performance.

The runway is significantly shorter than the average runway length for commercial airports, only 527 meters (1,729 ft). Pilots must perform precise maneuvers to ensure the aircraft can safely stop or take off within the allowed distance during takeoff and landing.

The runway has a gradient of 11.7%, creating a significant uphill slope when landing and a downhill slope during takeoff. This steep incline helps slow down aircraft during landing and generates lift during takeoff. Still, it also adds an extra layer of complexity for pilots, who must carefully manage their aircraft's speed and angle of approach.

The airport is surrounded by high mountains of the Everest region, with a sheer drop at the end of the runway. These dramatic topographical features of the airport demand experienced pilots to navigate carefully, as there is no room for error. Lukla Town-  the gateway to Everest, is also famous for its guide and porter services. This is the best alternative for trekkers who want to avoid paying for a staff member's flight from Kathmandu for different treks like Everest Base Camp, Gokyo, etc. 

Solo trekking is not allowed in Nepal, so you must be accompanied by a licensed guide. Moreover, you can also hire porter services to complete your trek easily. Hiring a guide and porter from a recognized trekking firm is advised to assure safety and dependability. Here, we have dedicated a whole blog about hiring a porter and guide here. 

Dipak Pande

Dipak Pande

Dipak starts to step up from potter, guide, and trekking leader to the company owner. Sometimes he share his experience with others as well as wrote in local travel news. Most of time he spend his time on mountain and his company.