Built by Tenzing Sherpa & Edmund Hillary in 1964, Lukla airport is one of the most dangerous airports in the world. And if you ever consider going to Mount Everest or Everest Base Camp then Lukla airport is your starting point. That is why the challenge begins from Kathmandu to Lukla before you even start your adventure to Mt. Everest.
But why everyone say that Lukla airport is the most dangerous airport in the world?
According to the data, 18 passengers died with only captain surviving in 2008, one passenger was killed when landing a helicopter in 2013, 2 people died in 2017 and many more. And if we look for the possible cause for all those accidents then it all points to the bad weather, elevation, and infrastructure.
Moreover, the infrastructure of Lukla airport is very interesting because its runway is only 1,729 ft long which is very short. And if you look at the runway, you will see that the runway is down the slope too. Likewise, the unpredictable weather is also one of the main causes.
Is Lukla Airport Safe?
Without a doubt, Lukla airport can be seen as a little unsafe than other airports but it is not that dangerous as people say. Instead of calling it dangerous, you can call it thrilling because it looks scary when landing.
Similarly, from the record, there was only one fatal crash at Lukla which was in 2008. Thousands of flights have been already done after that. And there’s no report of any other accidents like before.
Moreover, due to high traffic in Lukla airport form Kathamndu, there’s an alternative way to reach Lukla from Ramechhap airport now. At the time of hiking season/peak season, it has now become easier to reach Lukla as well as it has lowered the chance of accidents too.
Thus, with more than 30 flights per day to reach Lukla, it can be considered as little safer than before.
Where is Lukla Airport located?
Lukla airport is located in the Pasang-Lhamu Municipality of Solukhumbu at an elevation of 2,800m (9,186ft) high on the lap of mountains. Lukla is a small town in the Solukhumbu District of north-eastern Nepal and the home of Sherpa’s.
Being a starting point for Mt Everest expedition & EBC trek, you can find strong porters for you in this place too. However, it will cost you a little expensive if you take a porter from Lukla. To avoid this unusual cost, we recommend you to ask porter from trekking agencies.
Here is the location of Lukla airport in the map of Nepal.
Weather in Lukla:
As I mentioned earlier, Lukla is the gateway for reaching Everest Base camp & Mt. Everest. That is why if you want to trek to EBC then you have to take the flight because it’s the shortest way. And if you are flying to Lukla from Kathmandu then the weather is your main topic here.
Remember, if there is bad weather then the flight may get delayed or even canceled. There is no fixed time for Lukla flight. It all depends on the weather condition at Lukla.
Here are some of the best to worst weather for good flight to Lukla airport:
Lukla flight on Summer season: (Sometimes Worst)
Summer season is also called monsoon season in Nepal where you will often encounter unpredictable weather from time to time. People who try to fly to Lukla at this season usually encounter flight delayed or even flight cancellations due to bad weather.
However, the flights are open even at the time of the summer season for trekkers or locals.
The lush vegetation, waterfalls, rivers and exciting atmosphere is the reason that trekkers trek even in this season. Trekking in the summer season/monsoon season gives you different looks at Everest Base Camp on day to day walk. But, it’s about the right month and right time that you have to choose for trekking in the summer season.
We recommend you to trek at the time of early June or late September so that you won’t encounter bad weather when flying to Lukla.
Lukla flight on Autumn season: (Best)
The month of September to November falls under the Autumn season which is also called the hiking season in Nepal. Among all the season, the Autumn season is considered the best time for Lukla flight due to the good weather.
Also, most of the Lukla flights are done in this season which results in high traffic. You will surely encounter lots of trekkers in your way too at the time of the Autumn season.
Lukla flight on Winter season: (Worst)
Winter season can be a little problematic for Lukla flight due to foggy weather and snowfall. Most of the trekkers usually avoid the winter season for any kind of trekking. However, the airport still opens even in this season but only a few people fly to Lukla this season.
Even though it’s hard to trek in the winter season, it gives the best atmosphere and best scenery while trekking. That is why some trekkers prefer to trek even in the winter season. However, they usually trek at the time of early December or late February because Lukla flight is possible at that time.
Lukla Flight on Spring season: (Best)
Spring season is also one of the best seasons for trekking in Nepal due to good weather conditions. It is also called peak season in Nepal too. Likewise, this season is also best for flying to Lukla to start your trek or expedition.
To avoid any chance of getting flight delay or cancelation, don’t fly to Lukla in the month of early March or late May. Similarly, you will encounter high traffic too in the Spring season if you are flying to Lukla.
What’s the cost for Lukla flight?
The flight cost for Kathmandu to Lukla depends upon your passport. It means that if you are a Nepali citizen then it will cost you around RS 6,200. If you have an Indian passport then it will cost you USD 140 and for other countries, it will cost you USD 180.
The duration for Lukla flight from Kathmandu will take a maximum 25 min if the weather is good. However, there’s another airport-Ramechhap where you can fly to Lukla to avoid high traffic from Kathmandu-Lukla. But it will take 4 hours to drive to Ramechhap from Kathamndu and another extra 25 min to reach Lukla by flight. Similarly, the price will be the same even if you go through the Ramechhap airport.
Likewise, you can book your Lukla flight ticket from Tara Airlines, Sita Air or Summit Airlines. However, if you are with a trekking agency then you won’t have to take responsibility for booking a ticket.
Why was Lukla airport known as Tenzing Hilary Airport?
According to history, Edmund Hillary bought the land in Lukla from local Sherpas and build the airport in 1964 with the help of local Sherpas. It is also said that Hillary wasn’t happy with runways soil because it was too weak; therefore, the only solution he was able to think was making Sherpas perform a foot-stomping dance to flatten the land. Amazingly, the Sherpa foot-stomping dance worked but the runway wasn’t paved until 2001.
Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay also started their journey to Mount Everest from Lukla and after their great contribution. For their great deeds, in January 2008, the airport was renamed in honor of Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary.