Lukla flights via Ramechhap Airport

Flying to and from Lukla Airport via Ramechhap, Manthali Airport.

Since 2019, trekkers and trekking companies have had to be prepared to adapt plans and itineraries in response to a big announcement from the Government of Nepal / The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). Due to building works & improvements to Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport, it was announced that flights to & from Lukla Airport would be diverted to Ramechhap, Manthali Airport. This proved to work really well for them, with a reduction in air traffic at Kathmandu resulting in less delays & backlogs, and Ramechhap being able to focus only on Lukla increased the capacity of its flights, and so it has continued to become a regular occurrence each season.

But this is adventure travel - adapting, reacting to change & embracing the journey - it’s all part of the challenge right!?

With this announcement having been made a few years ago, you may already be aware and prepared for the impact this could have on your Nepalese Adventure, but it doesn’t hurt to know the specifics of these changes so that you’re prepared!

A small recap on the situation for if you'd missed it over the years:
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) ruled that flights to and from Lukla during the 2019 post-monsoon season would operate through Ramechhap rather than Kathmandu. This action has been prolonged longer than expected and the CAAN is looking at permanently moving all flights that go to Lukla from Ramechhap. This has impacted all companies & trekkers over the past few years, with most flights to/from Lukla now being diverted through Ramechhap.

Sometimes, the flights do still go from Kathmandu, you may have spoken to an EBC veteran or even EverTrekkers from 2022 who were able to fly from KTM, however it is better for you to be prepared for the likelihood of flying via Ramechhap.

There is often a date decided a short way into each season, where CAAN confirms that all flights will divert to Ramechhap. (For example in Autumn 2022, it was to be 25th September, & Spring 2023 is looking to be flights from March 15th.) From this date, Ramechhap will become an airport dedicated only to Lukla flights.

Although it can feel like an inconvenience at the time, ultimately the change to Ramechhap actually has some very valuable benefits! With this airport being solely dedicated to Lukla, there is a high frequency of flights, no air traffic to slow them down, and the flight time is just 17 minutes. With everyone's goal being to get in and out of Lukla within small windows of good weather, this airport does a fantastic job! Kathmandu on the other hand, although closer to your hotel in Thamel, has an incredibly high volume of air traffic and is known for having frequent lengthy delays and back-logs - not what you want, when waiting to board a plane with a short weather window!

Plus, this is an opportunity to see a different part of Nepal that many people wouldn't have normally gotten to see, and it's all part of the adventure!

So, what does it mean for your itinerary?

Firstly - it's good to know that this will not change the length of your itinerary. You can still book your arrival & departure flights for the same days that you normally would. However the long drive to and from Ramechhap will mean a change to the time spent in Kathmandu.

Flying out
The airport is 130 kms away from Kathmandu and takes about 4 hours. The roads are narrow, very bumpy and take a lot of winding turns. Remember, this is a developing country, and the roads will not be of the tarmacked quality you might be used to. They are certainly an experience all of their own, and it’s a drive you won’t forget in a hurry!

You'll be starting this drive on Day 2 of the trip. After sightseeing in Kathmandu that morning, you'll drive 4 or so hours, with breaks along the way, until you reach your destination for the evening. You'll be staying overnight in Mulkot which has some nicer accommodation than the options closer to the airport. Mulkot is 37 Kms (around 1 hours drive) from Ramechhap Airport, and so you will be waking up nice and early on Day 3 (around 4/5am depending on the flight times) to drive to Ramechhap.

(Very occasionally you may drive very early in the morning of Day 3, directly from Kathmandu - this will all be decided in advance by the team, who will be monitoring flight times, weather and analyzing the previous day's flight operations. It might not feel like the best option, but our team are experts in providing you the best opportunities for achieving a successful and safe trek.)

Flying back
After a wonderful few days / weeks in the beautiful Himalayas, it will be time to wave goodbye to the mountains and hop back on the plane to Ramechhap.
The journey then to Kathmandu will be the long and bumpy drive back to Hotel Aloft, stopping for breaks along the way. This drive, dependent on traffic, will likely be between 5-7 hours.

What vehicle will you be travelling in?
We arrange private transport for our EverTrekkers, the type of vehicle will depend on the amount of trekkers heading to Ramechhap at that time.
Should there be 2 or so trekkers then you would travel by car, up to 12 would be a Toyota minivan, and more than 12 may be multiple vans or a larger bus.
(Please note the amount of trekkers will relate to all our treks flying to Lukla on the same day, not just your trek group. For instance a mini-bus could have 9 for EBC, 1 for Island Peak & 2 for Gokyo etc.)

Remember, it's all part of the adventure & just adds to the stories you can tell! You'll always be well looked after & supported, with your EverTrek rep in Kathmandu, alongside your Guide who will escort you to Ramechhap & make sure you, and your bags, all land safely in Lukla!

If you have any questions about this leg of the journey, or anything else - the Yetis are here to help! Get in touch with us by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., calling 02920 003216. You can also join our Facebook Group where Yetis & EverTrekker experts are always happy to help with questions, or share their experiences & opinions.

Additional note: weather delays

Please note that extreme weather can still delay flights from/to either Kathmandu or Ramechhap - and so it's important to be mentally prepared for potential delays to your travel. EverTrek and the team in Nepal will always work tirelessly to do all they can to have you board available flights, however in some instances bad weather can continue for a number of days and helicopters may be something to consider.

Helicopters are often able to fly when planes can't and so these are a great solution to ensuring you stay on track for your trip or when returning in time for your departure flights.

Unfortunately, choppers do come with a cost & this does vary dependent on demand. When the weather is bad over an extended time, the demand is high as everyone; EverTrekkers, locals & other tourists - are all in the same boat. When demand is high the costs can increase, and it's likely that helicopter companies may charge between £400 - £550 per person. 

We want to assist our EverTrekkers as much as possible & we understand the inconvenience & costs that can occur when severe delays happen. However you should be able to claim this on your insurance if the costs escalate beyond what you can pay (if you have trip delays covered by your insurance, which most insurances do include).

Written By

Lauren Carter

Social Yeti