Flight Delays in Nepal

Flights in Nepal may sometimes get delayed or even canceled due to three (3) major reasons below:-

 

  • Congestion at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA)

Nepal’s international airport, which is Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), has only a single runaway. The single runway and one way approach are the major factors for flight delays at TIA. With the increase of flights into Kathmandu, especially during the peak seasons, this leads to runway congestion and resulting in flight delays.

 

  • Inclement Weather

Flights sometimes get delayed due to inclement weather, such as thick fog, heavy rains or strong winds which affect the flight visibility. TIA does not have the technology of the Instrumental Landing System. So, It is not safe for flights to take off / land in adverse weather conditions. As such, flights will be requested to “hold” in the sky or suspended to take-off until the weather is permissible for safe flying.

 

  • Diverse Topography

Nepal is a country with diverse topography and some of the domestic airports are situated at challenging terrain such as the Lukla Airport, which is the gateway to the Everest Region. To ensure passengers’ safety, flights at Lukla Airport often get delayed or canceled when the weather is not conducive for flying.

 

As such, to avoid any major disruption to your travel plans, we recommend that you allow one or two extra days as “buffer” just in case that your flight(s) is delayed or canceled. This is especially important for those who are going to the Everest Region as there is no road transportation available except flying into Lukla Airport. For other regions such as Annapurna, Heaven Himalaya can assist you by providing other alternatives such as a private car or tourist bus if the flight is canceled.

 

Besides, we also recommend that you purchase travel insurance which allows you to claim the additional expenses incurred due to the delay/cancellation of flight(s), such as the cost of changing flight or use of another mode of transportation, through the insurance company in the event of such unforeseen circumstances.

 

Notes:

  1. Nepal is currently constructing a second international airport in Pokhara. The Pokhara International Airport is expected to be completed and begins its operations in 2021.
  2. According to Forbes, 20 July 2019, to improve the safety of flights in Lukla, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal now sets a high standard for pilots. To land at Lukla, pilots must have completed 100 short-take-off-and-landing flights, have at least one year of such experience in Nepal and have completed ten flights into Lukla with a certified instructor. Also, there is a technical study underway to assess the feasibility of a runway extension, although this would be limited to just 100 feet. Construction for a new helipad is also underway to increase passenger capacity.