Nepal’s Dangerous Airport in Lukla — Not for the Soft-Hearted

The dangers of climbing the summit of Mount Everest are not hidden among adventurers. It is a well-known story that most trekkers experience multiple challenges even before reaching the base camp. Yet the thrill of reaching the peak of Mount Everest makes it all worth! The starting point for the Everest trekking route leads most trekkers to Nepal’s dangerous airport — the Lukla Airport.

Located 9,383 feet above sea level, landings at the Lukla Airport are quite challenging for pilots. The short runway, regular winds and mountainous terrain are only some of the obvious risks that the high-altitude airport puts forth for a flyer. Low air pressures at high-altitude airports heightens the risks of flying.

One end of the tiny runway is a wall and the other leads to a steep drop into the valley below. The Lukla runway slopes uphill with a gradient of nearly 12 percent to ease the slowing of planes. Due to the unpredictable weather, sudden mists, fogs, rainstorms and snows, flight cancellations are quite common at the airport. Since afternoons are mostly cloudy, flights are scheduled early mornings.

Due to the surroundings of Nepal’s dangerous airport, only small fixed-wing propeller planes and helicopters are allowed to land. For running these flights, qualified pilots who have completed at least 100 short-take-off-and-landing flights with minimum one-year experience in Nepal are hired. These standards have been set by the Civil Aviation Authority after paying due consideration to the dangers in the region.

For analysing the feasibility of a runway extension, a technical study is already underway. But even then the extension would be limited to 100 feet. Despite the challenges, Nepal’s dangerous airport is also the busiest one. Regular flights are often run by private companies, including Tara Air, Sita Air and Summit Air. If you are a hard-core enthusiast, you must consider visiting this airport at least once in your life.




Beyond Glossy Travel Diaries!

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Find ‘the most beautiful place on earth’ in County Kerry, Ireland

How long does it take to learn to sail?

I Did It — Moved to Manhattan

The Trip

Alchemical Sundays — Edition #5

Gap Year Day 168

Santa Cruz Weekend Guide: Mar. 3–5, 2017

Digital Nomad Life in Sao Paulo, Brazil — Andy Sto

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
TraveloGuide Insight

TraveloGuide Insight

Beyond Glossy Travel Diaries!

More from Medium

Creative Data Science: How to keep your creative agency relevant

4 things that I would not want to miss in my one-person household as a lazy person

Imposter syndrome, perfectionism and a lack of transparency walked into a bar — sounds like a joke…

Films about Japan that will help you learn more about Japanese culture.

The Garden Of Words