The Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla is the closest airport to Mount Everest. Located in Lukla, Solukhumbu district of western Nepal, it is widely considered as one of the most thrilling and potentially risky airports in the world. The airport code for the airport is LUA based on the name of town Lukla.
A short history of Lukla Airport Nepal
Lukla is a small town in close proximity to the famous Mount Everest. Before the construction of the airport, the only way to arrive at Lukla was via a drive from Kathmandu to Jiri and then a treacherous five days hike from Jiri.
The airport serves as the primary source of transportation for mountaineering expeditions in the Everest region. The first ascenders of Mount Everest were Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary. They initiated the construction of the airport in 1964.
In 1998, the government changed the name from Lukla airport to Tenzing – Hillary airport. The expedition of Mount Everest starts from this airport in Lukla. Many Everest Base Camp trekkers also use this airport as their prefered means of travel.
Lukla Airport is also one of the busiest domestic airports in Nepal as it accommodates around 50 flights daily. The airport only has a direct connection from the Tribhuvan International airport in Kathmandu.
Overview of Tenzing-Hillary Airport
Tenzing-Hillary Airport (LUA) has an asphalt strip of only 500 meters in length. This is one of the smallest airstrips in the world. The airport has a steep cliff on one end. It is also listed as the 2nd most dangerous airport by the National Geographic Channel.
Only Twin Otters and helicopters take flight to this airport due to the challenging geography, terrain, physics, and altitude of the airport strip. Besides that, a single direction landing is only possible, and there are no circuits available.
Approach and Departure
Tenzing-Hillary Airport has a sophisticated approach and departure. The landing first takes a descending turn and then leads into a short final. Visual perception is quite low, and the crew has a short time to correct. The go-around is also tricky owing to the terrain.
Departure is more relaxed in comparison as it only requires some extra level of flaps to help during the takeoff. Many treks around the Everest Base Camp starts with a flight to the airport.
What are the major landmarks near the airport?
The significant landmarks near the airport include the villages of Lukla, Phakding, Namche, Tengboche, Lobuche, Dingboche, and others. There are also the Everest Base Camp, Khumbu glacier, Gokyo lakes, Khumbu icefall, Ngozumpa glacier, etc.
Moreover, you will also get to observe the snow-capped mountain views of Mt. Everest, Ama Dablam, Mt. Makalu, Nuptse, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Gokyo RI, and others.
You may also like: