Regarding Lukla flight

During the peak trekking season from March-May and September-November, all the Lukla flights will be held via Manthali Airport in Ramechhap due to the traffic congestion at Tribhuvan International Airport.

This decision was made by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAAN) in Nepal to avoid Air Traffic holds flight delays and a high possibility of flight cancellation. However, apart from the peak trekking season, a direct flight from Kathmandu to Lukla is possible.

To initiate most of the treks in the Everest region, you need to fly to the Himalayan settlement of Lukla. The flight to Tenzing Hillary Airport in Lukla is one of the most thrilling flights in the world.

Best Time for the Trek

The best time to embark on the treks in the Everest region is either Spring (March-May) or Autumn (September-December). The weather is great during this time. It allows you to enjoy your hike with a mesmerizing and clear view of the mountains in the backdrop. Having said that, it is also important to note the weather in the mountains can be highly unpredictable.

These two seasons are also the peak trekking season in Nepal. Hence, you can expect to meet people from different parts of the world and exchange your stories with them.

Note: If you want to avoid the crowd and don’t mind a little rain or chilly weather, you can also consider trek to the Everest Region in monsoon or winter season.

Getting to Lukla

There are only two airports from which you can fly to Lukla. It’s either directly from Kathmandu or from Manthali airport which is a 3-4 hours drive away from Kathmandu.

For Manthali – Lukla flight: Manthali Airport in Ramechhap is 132 km from Kathmandu. And it takes around a 4 hour drive to get here. Hence, to board the Lukla flight from Manthali airport,  you need to wake up at 2 am and drive to Manthali airport via a tourist vehicle. This is applicable for the peak trekking month of March to May and again in September to November.

For Kathmandu – Lukla flight: To board the Lukla flight from Kathmandu, you need to wake up at around 5 to 6 am and drive to the domestic airport in Kathmandu and fly to Lukla (35 minutes). The drive to the airport is only 15 minutes. This is applicable for the remaining months, except peak trekking months.

Helicopter Option: If you want to avoid driving to Ramechhap,  you can take the alternative option of a helicopter ride to Lukla. The shared helicopter flight will cost you USD 600 per person for one way in addition to the trip price.

The helicopter can take 5 passengers at once. Depending on the weather, you will reach Kathmandu from Lukla airport in 40 to 60 minutes.

Note: The helicopter option is only recommended to the smaller group.

Overnight at Mathali: If you have time, you can drive to the Manthali Airport or nearby one day earlier and fly to Lukla the following day without driving during the night time. Please note that the tea house at the Ramechhap is very basic as it is a newly opened alternative airport and does not have good resources and facilities.

Points To Be Noted:

  • Arriving a day before the trek commences to reduce some jet lag and to shop for any necessary trekking gears is highly recommended.
  • Likewise, we suggest adding a leisure day in your itinerary after the trek as a buffer day to avoid any potential delays into/out of the Khumbu region. This will reduce the risk of missing your scheduled international flight.

Reasons For Lukla Flight Delays/Cancellations

Lukla has one of the shortest runways in the world and is located at a height of 2,845 m. Hence, there are several factors that can lead to Lukla’s flight delay and cancellation. Some of them are listed below.

  • Lukla airport, also known as Tenzing Hillary Airport is the only airstrip actively functioning in the Khumbu region. Hence, it can get extremely busy resulting in airport congestion during the peak season. This can add to the reasons for flight delays.
  • Since Lukla airport has a narrow runway strip, the flight has to be landed with caution which can result in flight delays.
  • The airport in Luka is located in a high altitude hence, the flights are likely to be delayed or even canceled due to unpredictable and changing weather in the mountain region. The adverse climatic factors include strong winds, low visibility, and low-lying clouds during monsoon and winter can also affect the schedule of the flight.