Lukla update: Flight changes when heading to the Everest region

Flights between Kathmandu and Lukla have been suspended for international travellers, but fear not, we have you covered on how to get to Lukla with ease.

To reach Lukla, the gateway to the Everest trekking region, flights are now departing from and arriving at Ramechap airport, rather than Kathmandu airport. The new routing, which was introduced to reduce congestion at Kathmandu airport, is in place during October, November and December 2019, with authorities assessing whether to continue from January 2020.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal issued the following statement:

Due to increment in traffic congestion at TIA (Tribhuvan International Airport) and increasing number of Lukla flights from TIA, an arrangement was made to operate all Lukla flights from Ramechap airport in this summer season which was accomplished successfully.

During tourist season, Lukla is the busiest airport among STOL airfields operated from Kathmandu. Therefore, to avoid traffic congestion and minimize the load of TIA and to ease other international operation from TlA, all airlines operating in Lukla sector are required to operate from Ramechap airport henceforth you are required to manage all formalities in this regard.

Who is affected?

This change affects all travel companies operating tours in Nepal, and we assure you we have explored a range of alternatives, including utilizing helicopters, which has been discounted due to exorbitant costs and availability limitations.

While there is one operational flight from Kathmandu to Lukla each day, it is reserved for Nepali locals, and airlines are restricted from selling tickets to agents or to individuals who are not Nepali citizens.

It’s not all bad news

Some operators have varied their itineraries to have clients depart Kathmandu by vehicle at 2am, to reach Ramechap in time for the first morning flights to Lukla. World Expeditions has rejected this option because it makes for a very long first day of trekking. Instead, we are taking trekkers to Ramechap for an overnight stay in our comfortable and conveniently located campsite in order to take the first morning flights to Lukla.

Ramechap tent set-up |  <i>Angela Parajo</i>

Although there are afternoon flights to Lukla from Ramechap, these are unreliable because there is a higher chance of these flights being cancelled due to weather conditions.

We have revised our Everest itineraries in the wake of these circumstances.

Our modified itinerary:

Day 1 – Arrival in Kathmandu. Free day.

Day 2 – Overland drive to Ramechap (approximately 5 hours). You can do some last-minute gear shopping or enjoy some leisure time in the morning at Kathmandu after breakfast before we hit the road. En route we will stop for lunch and arrive at our campsite by late afternoon.

Our private Ramechap campsite is equipped with up to 30 tents, dining tents and bathroom facilities with Western-style toilets and hand basins. Our trekkers enjoy full-board camping with a hearty, three-course evening meal cooked by our trained team at the campsite, with tea and breakfast the following day.

Ramechap campsite |  <i>Angela Parajo</i> DSC_0090 DSC_0087 DSC_0092 DSC_0086

Day 3 – Early morning flight to Lukla (2800m). Our campsite is directly opposite the runway, so you’ll have first flights to Lukla! You will then commence your trek to Ghat (2530m), the walk being approximately 2-3 hours.

World Expeditions believes the option of staying in Ramechap is vastly better than departing Kathmandu at 2am, driving approximately 5 hours to Ramechap, flying to Lukla and then commencing trekking.

Getting a reasonable night’s sleep and being able to travel on the earliest flights from Ramechap provides the best start to the trekking day.

At the end of your trek, you will fly from Lukla to Ramechap and drive directly to Kathmandu on the same day. The rest of the afternoon will be at your leisure, offering an opportunity to do any additional sightseeing and shopping.

Published 28 August 2019.

Adventure news, Lukla, flights, nepal, ramechap, everest region, kathmandu, airport

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