Travel Guide

Major Airports in Nepal

on July 25, 2021
Major Airports in Nepal

Surrounded by giant snowcapped peaks and massive hills, Nepal is through and through a landlocked country. Because of its no relation to sea, land ways and airways medium of transportation is profound in Nepal. Land ways are the most common means of transportation in Nepal, whereas airways are becoming more prevalent. Connecting remote and seclude areas, there are 34 actively operating airports in Nepal. Here in this article, we highlight significant airports in Nepal that are making travel convenient for decades.

Without further ado, let’s uncover more about beautiful airports in Nepal:

Tribhuwan International Airport – the first airport of Nepal  


Tribhuwan International Airport is the only international and first airport in Nepal. The airport was built in 1949 AD. In the beginning, the name of the airport was Kathmandu airport. But in 1955, the airport was named the Tribhuwan International Airport. TIA lies at the heart of three major cities of Nepal- Katmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. It is the only international airport in Nepal; it connects Nepal with 40 destinations in 17 countries. Thus, it is the busiest airport in Nepal. Ever since its establishment, the airport has gone various renovations and upgrades. Recently, due to heavy traffic congestion, the airport underwent a taxiway renovation.

The airport code of Tribhuwan International airport is KTM for IATA and VNKT for ICAO. The airport is a hub for two home-based international airlines- Nepal airlines and Himalayan airlines. Along with that, it is also a hub for several domestic and regional airlines. Kathmandu airport lies at an elevation of 1338 meters and with only one airstrip. The runway length of Kathmandu airport is 3350 m and is 45 m wide. The Tribhuwan International Airport apron capacity for international aircraft is 9 medium and wide category aircraft. Whereas its apron capacity for domestic aircraft is 17 small aircraft and a helipad with a capacity of 13 helicopters.

International airlines such as Air Arabia, Qatar Airways, Thai Airways, Air India, Air China, Etihad Airways, Jazeera Airways, and many more airways operate regular flights to Tribhuwan International airport. The airport serves all year round in all weather conditions. Likewise, some domestic airlines that operate flights to and from Tribhuwan International airport to every corner of the country are Nepal Airlines, Buddha Air, Saurya Airlines, Shree Airlines, Simrik Airlines, Yeti Airlines, Tara Air, Sita Air, and Summit Air.

Tenzing-Hillary Airport- One of the most exciting airports in the world

Tenzing-Hillary Airport is one of the most exciting airports because of its unique setting and thrilling flight experience. Lukla Airport lies in the bustling town of Solukhumbu district. Although the airport was set up in 1964, people built a proper runway in 2001. The building of the airport begins in 1964. However, the suitable runway was not built until 2001. The airport’s official name was Lukla Airport, which is still commonly used today. The airport was renamed Tenzing-Hillary Airport in honor of climbing heroes Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa.

Lukla airport is one of the highest-grossing domestic airports in Nepal. Mountaineering lovers who chased the dream of summiting Everest shall enjoy the dramatic flying experience. The airport codes of Lukla airport are LUA (IATA) and VNLK (IACO). Its runway length is 527 m and 20 meters wide and has 4 D228 type aircraft parking capacity. The apron and runway of the airport are paved with asphalt concrete. Lukla airport is a hub for Tara Air, Summit Air, Sita Air, and Nepal Airlines. The airport actively runs scheduled flights to Kathmandu airport.

Lukla Airport only operates domestic flights. Some airlines that run flights to and from Lukla are Tara Air, Summit Air, Sita Air, and Nepal Airlines.

Pokhara Airport – the busiest domestic airport in Nepal

Lying at the heart of Pokhara valley, offering captivating vistas of Annapurna massif is Pokhara airport. After TIA and Lukla, this is one of the busiest domestic airports in the country. Pokhara airport serves as the main gateway for the travelers heading pilgrimage sites like Muktinath temple and many trekking trails of the Annapurna region. Pokhara Airport was founded in 1958, making it one of the oldest airports in Nepal. The flight duration to Pokhara is generally referred to as the most picturesque flying journey. The IATA and IACO codes for Pokhara airport are PKR and VNPK, respectively.

Flights to Jomsom, Bharatpur, Manang, Kathmandu, and Bhairahawa are available from Pokhara airport. Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines, Tara Air, Sita Air, Simrik Airlines, Summit Airways, Nepal Airlines, and Shree Airlines regularly operate scheduled flights from Pokhara airport to different countries. The airport sits at an elevation of 827 meters above sea level.

In addition, due to the booming tourism business, the airport is transforming into an international airport, which will open in 2022.

The new Pokhara international airport is located 3 km away from the now existing airport. With becoming an international airport, the airport will directly operate international flights as well. Similarly, there will be noticeable changes in runway size, parking capacity, and apron size, making it the third international airport of Nepal.

As of now, Pokhara airport only runs domestic flights. But soon, it will start operating international flights as well. Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines, Tara Air, Sita Air, Simrik Airlines, Summit Airways, Nepal Airlines, and Shree Airlines are the only airlines conducting flights to and from Pokhara airport.

Nepalgunj Airport- the gateway to different terrains of Nepal

Nepalgunj airport in Nepalgunj district and is one of Nepal’s major airports. Second, only to Kathmandu regarding air connections, Nepalgunj airport operates flights with 16 airports in different parts of Nepal. Nepalgunj airports have played a significant role in developing Nepal’s remote and mountainous areas. Therefore, it is one of the major airports in Nepal for commercial reasons. In the future, it can also contribute significantly to tourism development as many potential tourist destinations lie in these regions. Consequently, it serves as the primary air gate for Indian pilgrims to visit the Kailash Manasarovar of Tibet.

Nepalgunj airport lies in the Terai region, and its elevation is 150 meters. The IATA and IACO codes for Nepalgunj airport are KEP and VNNG, respectively. Ever since 1961, the airport has been offering its services. It has a single runway with a length of 1505 meters and a width of 30 meters. The airport also has a large apron that can accommodate a variety of large and small regional planes. Overall, the airport aims to add additional flights in the future due to its capacity to accommodate larger aircraft and link to several air routes.

Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines, Tara Air, Shree Airlines, Saurya Airlines, Sita Air, Summit Airways, Nepal Airlines are flight operating Airlines to and from Nepalgunj airport.

Jomsom Airport – Scenically pleasing airports in Nepal

Jomsom Airport is one of the beautiful airports in Nepal. With giant mountains surrounding the airport area, passenger’s inflight can witness the breathtaking sights of Annapurna massif and the impressive Trans Himalayas.

The airport lies in the Mustang district of Nepal and serves as the gateway to several popular destinations of Mustang. This airport serves as the gateway to pilgrimage sites such as Muktinath temple- a sacred destination for Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims. The Jomsom airport has been in operation since 1976 AD and is only connected to Pokhara airport.

Jomsom airport lies at an elevation of 2736 m at the top of the Kali Gandaki river gorge. With Jomsom Airport located at the top of the canyon, the airport’s high terrain presents a hazard for flights to take off. Jomsom Airport has only one runway, and its length is 2424 meters. The Jomsom airport IATA and IACO codes are JMO and VNJs, respectively. The commute from Jomsom to Pokhara is about 20 minutes. However, owing to inclement weather, flights keep on deferring. Thus, as wind speeds increase during and the day and high wind speeds often prevent airport operation after midday, airlines schedule flights to Jomsom for the early morning when wind speeds are low. At the moment, only Tara air and summit air run their flights to and from Jomsom airport.

Simikot Airport- One of the beautiful airports in Nepal

Less busy yet extremely popular for its location and scenery, Simikot airport is one of the beautiful airports in Nepal. The airport lies in the Humla district, which is one of Nepal’s most isolated locations. Although this is not the busiest or popular airport in Nepal, it is one of the major airports in Nepal for touristic purposes. Since it is the gateway to Mount Kailash trek in Tibet, the number of travelers is likely to grow in the future. Currently, few flights regulate to Simikot airport from Nepalgunj airport. Roads are yet to be built to connect the region with the rest of Nepal. Thus, Simikot airport is the only mode of transportation available in the area.

The airport codes for Simikot airport are IMK (IATA) and VNST (IACO). Simikot airport lies at the height of 2818 meters which is quite a high location for the airport. Since it is only connected to Nepalgunj airport, the flight takes travelers from the plains of Terai to the mountains of Nepal within a short frame of time. The airport has one airstrip of length 549 meters and 20 meters wide. The runway was recently renovated, and new infrastructure was installed in the process. At Simikot airport, Sita Air, Tara Air, Summit Air, and Nepal Airlines operate flights.

Bharatpur Airport – Gateway to the exciting wilds of Nepal

Bharatpur Airport, located in the Chitwan district of Nepal, is the gateway to the exciting wilds of Nepal. After Pokhara and Lukla airports, it is one of Nepal’s foreign currency earning domestic airports. The airport, located in the Chitwan area, has provided services to nature enthusiasts since its establishment in 1961 AD. Chitwan is one of the most favorite attractions for relaxing vacation and enjoying Mother Nature. As a result, the Bharatpur airport sees a high volume of passengers. Because of the demand, the airport is expanding the number of aircraft and flight services.

The airport code of Bharatpur Airport of IATA is BHR and ICAO is VNBP. The airport operates in all weather and is directly connected with Pokhara airport and Kathmandu airport. With an apron capacity of Four ATR42 Types, the airport lies at an elevation of 207 meters. Presently, three major domestic airlines – Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines, and Simrik-run active flights to and from Kathmandu and Pokhara. Despite being one of the busy domestic airports, only two airlines operate regular flights to and from Bharatpur airport. And these airlines are Buddha air and Yeti airlines.

Bhairahawa Airport – Soon to be the new International airport of Nepal

Bhairahawa Airport is soon to be a new international airport in Nepal. With flights connecting to international airports, travelers are anticipating its operation in 2021. Built in 1958 AD, Bhairahawa is one of the active and oldest airports in Nepal. The airport lies in the Lumbini- the birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha. Thus, the density of pilgrims is relatively high as well as sightseeing travelers.

Along with that, the city is not only brimming with travelers. Bhairahawa is the second-largest trading city in Nepal after Birgunj hence the range of travelers is pretty diverse. Furthermore, another name for Bhairahawa airport is Gautam Buddha International airport.

The airport has undergone significant renovations as it transitions from a domestic to an international airport. From upgrading runway length to increasing parking capacity, there are substantial changes in the new airport. Similarly, the runway and apron of Bhairahawa airport are asphalt concrete. From Bhairahawa airport, regular flights to Kathmandu and Pokhara airport take place. Lastly, the airport codes for Bhairahawa airport are BWA (IATA) and VNBW (IACO).

Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines, Shree Airlines, Saurya Airlines, Nepal Airlines are some of the airlines that operate regular flights to and from Bhairahawa airport. In a year or later, the airport will also start running international flights.

Talcha Airport – Scariest airports in the world

Among many on the list of major airports in Nepal, Talcha airport is the most remote airport in the country. Talcha airport of Mugu district is one of the most visually pleasing airports globally and, world’s scariest airports at the same time. The airport sits at the height of 2720 meters above sea level on a hilltop. Because of its complex setting, taking off and landing are precarious. This domestic airport has been serving people since 2003, and it is widely popular for getting to Rara Lake at the earliest. Henceforth, most refers to Talcha airport as Rara airport as well. The airport has one runway of length 570 meters and 20 meters wide.

The airport codes for Talcha airport are THL for IATA and VNRR for IACO. Tara Air, Sita Air, Summit Air, and Nepal Airlines regularly operate flights to Talcha airport from Nepalgunj, the only connected airport. The parking capacity of Talcha airport is two D228 types’ aircraft, and the size of the apron is 2312 sq. m. The runway and apron are paved with asphalt concrete.

Despite being one of the remote and dangerous airports, four airlines operate flights to Talcha airport. Tara Air, Sita Air, Summit Air, and Nepal Airlines have been running their flights to and from Talcha airport.

Dolpa Airport – Connecting travelers with Incredible Dolpo

Dolpa Airport has been making life easier for people living in Dolpo since 1975. Dolpo airport, also known as Dolpa Jhuphal airport, resides at an elevation of 2503 meters and offers breathtaking vistas. Many of Nepal’s rural airports operate regular flights to only one of the country’s main airports. However, Dolpo Airport is the only remote airport with flights to Nepalgunj and Surkhet regularly. As a result, it is one of Nepal’s well-run small airports. It has become more efficient for tourists with a great interest in Nepal’s remote and inaccessible places since its establishment. Hikers undertaking Upper Dolpo Trek, one of Nepal’s most popular off-the-beaten-path treks, find flying to Dolpa Airport a memorable flying experience.

Similarly, as the airport lies in the beautiful Dolpo district, it is a gateway for several traveling destinations. For instance, Dolpa Airport is the only gateway to Shey Phoksundo Lake and Shey Phoksundo national park. It is also the gateway to many trekking destinations in the Dolpo region. Dolpa airport, similarly to any other airport of Nepal, has a single airstrip. Its runway is about 560 m long and 20 m wide. The airport codes for Dolpa airport are DOP (IATA) and VNDP (IACO). The parking capacity of Dolpo airport is Two DHC6 types of planes, and its apron size is 2400 square meters. Tara Air, Sita Air, Nepal Airlines, and Summit Air are the only airlines that run their flights to Dolpo airport.

Final Words

Aside from the names on the list, there are many magnificent and picturesque airports in Nepal. Nonetheless, these are a few airports that are primarily operational and popular. The incredibleness of these airports stems not just from the sheer quantity of patrons. But it comes from its ability to assist even in the most challenging situations. This is why these airports remain the significant airports of Nepal.

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