Lukla Airport is situated at Chaurikharka Municipality of Solukhumbu district of Nepal at an elevation of 2860m. The airport is also known as the Tenzing Hillary Airport. It takes about 30 minutes of flight to reach Lukla from Kathmandu. The flight to Lukla airport runs only from Kathmandu and Ramechhap. The airport is famous due to the only way to access the Everest Region to the alternative of walking from Jiri to Lukla which takes more than 5 days. All the treks in Everest region like Everest base camp short trek, Gokyo lake trek, Everest high pass trek are start from lukla.
History of Lukla Airport
Lukla Airport was established in 1964 under the supervision of Sir Edmund Hillary and has been operating since September 1971. However, the runway of this airport was paved in 2001. And in 2008, the name of the airport was renamed as Tenzing Hillary Airport to honor the 1st climbers of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. Due to the increasing popularity of trekking in Khumbu region, the airport’s value continued inclining. However, the increasing inflow of trekkers and travellers has become the threat to the ecology of Sagarmatha National Park. On the other hand, the local people mostly Sherpa’s living standard has been raised.
Present condition of Lukla Airport
The Airport has been developing and increasing the area year by year. The dimension of the paved runway of the airport is 527m 30m which can be used for both landing and takeoff. Currently, the airport has the capacity of parking 4 small aircraft. The designation of runway for landing and takeoff is 06 and 24. The number of flights per day depends upon the weather, trekking and mountaineering season.
Flight of Lukla
Generally, the flight to Lukla from Kathmandu takes off in early morning which offers the spectacular views of majestic mountains and hills of Khumbu region. The flight to Lukla is itself an adventure activity. It takes 30 to 35 minutes to reach Lukla from Kathmandu.
How dangerous is Lukla Airport
If you google ‘world’s dangerous airport’ then you will see the name Lukla Airport on top. Lukla Airport is considered as the deadliest airport in the world because of its altitude and geographical structure. This airport is the busiest domestic airport of Nepal which is located at an elevation of 2846meters. In 2010, History Channel broadcasted Lukla Airport as the world’s most dangerous airport on the program titled ‘Most Extreme Airports’. The airport has only one runway on the edge of a cliff with a 700m drop. Mostly, the airport is closed due to heavy clouds and strong wind. In this airport only experienced pilots are allowed. Pilots who have made minimum 100 landing and takeoffs on short runways and worked in such conditions are only allowed to fly in Lukla. From the late 10 years data, more than 20 people had died in the Lukla plane crash. Poor visibility, location, short runway and frequent change in weather conditions are the main reasons to make this airport the most deadliest airport in the world.