Ramechhap is located about 132 kilometers from Kathmandu. The drive to Manthali Airport in Ramechhap, where you will catch a flight to Lukla, takes around 5 hours. The flight time from Ramechhap to Lukla is around 20 minutes. Those attempting to catch an early morning flight must frequently leave Kathmandu as early as 2 a.m. Another option is to arrive in Ramechhap the day before your trip and spend the night in a hotel nearby.
Summit Airlines, Sita Air, and Tara Air are among the well-known airlines that fly between Ramechhap and Lukla. A one-way ticket for foreign passengers costs around $150 per person. There are approximately 15 daily flights to Lukla, with departure schedules beginning at 6 a.m. and ending at 9:15 a.m. Furthermore, several travel firms and tour companies that facilitate the Everest Base Trek provide transportation from Kathmandu to Ramechhap.
How do you get to Ramechhap?
It will take four to four hours to drive from Kathmandu to Ramechap airport. Depending on your flight time, you should arrive at Ramechap airport 1 hour before check-in. Ramchap airport is 130 kilometers east of Kathmandu. The journey to Kathmandu will take 4 hours due to the two-lane highway. The road is in good shape, and a car/van/bus can easily reach the airport.
Ramechap had no tourists until all Lukla flights were rerouted from here. There are hotels near the airport, but keep your expectations low because the hotels are relatively basic, with few facilities and services. These are generally guesthouses designed to cater to local travelers. With an increase in the number of visitors arriving in Ramechap to catch flights to Lukla, new hotels are being built in Ramechap.
2023 Lukla Flight Status
Currently, three airlines are operating the Lukla flights namely Tara Air, Summit Air and Sita Air with each airline having two aircraft lined up for Lukla flights only.
Currently, three airlines operate Lukla flights: Tara Air, Summit Air, and Sita Air, with each airline having two flights dedicated to Lukla flights solely. With the increase in visitors visiting Nepal during the COVID outbreak, the number of trekkers climbing to Everest has also increased. Tourism has been restored since COVID-19 prohibited it in 2020 and 2021. With the increased number of trekkers/climbers traveling to the Everest region, the flight to and from Lukla is now operated from Ramechap airport. To ease traffic flow in 2019, all flights to Lukla were redirected from Ramechap Airport while Kathmandu Airport's l one runway was being fixed.
Now onwards during the peak season time, Ramechap Airport will solely serve as a base for all STOL flights to Lukla. All flights to and from Lukla will be conducted from Ramechap Airport during peak season time.
Ramechap Airport will now only serve as a base for all STOL flights to Lukla during peak season. During peak season, all flights to and from Lukla will depart from Ramechap Airport.
Ramechap Airport tentative operating dates for Lukla flights:
Spring lasts from March 25 until May 20.
Autumn: September 20 to November 20
Ramechap to Lukla flight experience
While reaching Ramechhap is a challenge and the airport lacks basic facilities, it remains a more dependable choice for Lukla flights. The key advantage is the flight duration from Ramechhap to Lukla, which is just 14 minutes, in contrast to the 35-minute flight from Kathmandu. This suggests that, under favorable weather conditions, a greater number of flights can swiftly transport numerous passengers to Lukla. In Kathmandu, even with good weather in Lukla, flight departures can often be delayed due to air traffic, potentially causing travelers to miss their opportunity to reach Lukla.
The flight time from Ramechhap Airport to Lukla Airport is a mere 14 minutes. This stands in contrast to the 35-minute flight from Kathmandu, highlighting Ramechhap's advantage of significantly reducing the flight duration to Lukla. This shortened flight time allows for the possibility of scheduling more flights, thereby minimizing the likelihood of cancellations and delays.
Reason to fly Lukla from Ramechhap airport
Kathmandu airport is together of International and domestic. In the season of tourism, there are many international and domestic flights operating in different sector which is more than capacities of small Tribhuban international airport. Due to this reason, there is problem of air traffic and delay Lukla flights too. Lukla flights are only at morning time and it does not fly during day time due to heavy wind and foggy weather on the way to Lukla. If the flights are from Ramechaap, there are is no issue of air traffic and flight duration is also the less than from Kathmandu. So that season time which is flow of trekkers to Everest region can skip flight cancellation of Lukla.
Flying to Lukla, the gateway to the Everest region in Nepal, is a popular choice for trekkers and climbers aiming to reach the Everest Base Camp or other destinations in the region. Traditionally, flights to Lukla were operated from the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. However, due to congestion, weather-related disruptions, and safety concerns at the Kathmandu airport, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) introduced an alternative flight route, where flights to Lukla depart from Ramechhap Airport. Here are some reasons for this change:
Reduced Congestion: The Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu experiences heavy air traffic, both from international and domestic flights. This congestion often leads to delays and cancellations, affecting the flight schedule to Lukla. Ramechhap Airport, being less busy, offers a more reliable alternative.
Weather Resilience: Lukla is notorious for its unpredictable and often challenging weather conditions, especially during peak trekking seasons. Ramechhap Airport is situated at a lower altitude and is less prone to weather disruptions, making it a more reliable departure point.
Safety: The runway at Lukla Airport is short and surrounded by challenging terrain, making it a tricky place to land and take off. Ramechhap Airport has a longer runway and more favorable geographical conditions, which can contribute to safer flights.
Stable Flight Schedule: The flights from Ramechhap Airport to Lukla are generally more punctual due to the reasons mentioned above. This predictability can be crucial for trekkers and climbers who have tight schedules and arrangements for their Everest region adventures.
Scenic Drive: The journey from Kathmandu to Ramechhap Airport involves a scenic drive through picturesque countryside and rural villages. This can offer travelers an authentic experience of Nepal's landscape and culture.
Avoiding Kathmandu's Traffic: Traveling to Ramechhap Airport involves avoiding the traffic congestion of Kathmandu city, which can be particularly advantageous during peak tourist seasons.
It's important to note that while the Ramechhap route offers several benefits, it does involve an additional road journey of around 4-5 hours from Kathmandu to Ramechhap before taking the flight to Lukla. Travelers should consider their own priorities, schedules, and preferences when deciding whether to fly to Lukla from Ramechhap or take the traditional route from Kathmandu.
Why Ramechhap Airport is a preferable choice for flights?
Despite the challenges and limited facilities at Ramechhap Airport, its advantages become apparent upon closer examination. While the inconveniences of traveling to Ramechhap and the basic nature of the airport facilities are acknowledged, the airport offers a higher degree of flight dependability. Notably, the flight duration from Ramechhap to Lukla is a mere 12 minutes, in stark contrast to the 35-minute flight from Kathmandu. This abbreviated flight duration facilitates the potential scheduling of multiple flights swiftly during favorable weather conditions, efficiently transporting a significant number of passengers to Lukla. In contrast, flights originating from Kathmandu to Lukla frequently face delays due to runway congestion and air traffic, even when weather conditions are favorable. Such delays could potentially result in missing the prime weather window for flying to Lukla. The primary objective is to optimize the chances of trekkers reaching Lukla and embarking on their trek. Despite the additional intricacies involved in reaching Ramechhap, the potential benefits of streamlined flight operations and well-timed weather conditions outweigh the inconveniences.
Advantages of Choosing Ramechhap Airport for Lukla Flights
Apart from the well-known flight disturbances due to adverse weather conditions, the congestion of air traffic at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport also exerts considerable influence. A notable aspect is that Ramechhap Airport exclusively handles flights to Lukla.
Selecting flights from Ramechhap to Lukla presents a cost-effective solution. For international travelers, a single journey from Kathmandu to Lukla costs around $180, while the airfare from Ramechhap to Lukla is $150.
Ramechhap's Manthali Airport possesses the capability to swiftly recommence operations as weather improves, owing to its sole dedication to Lukla flights. This enhances the probability of successful flights to Lukla.
The occurrence of flight cancellations and delays often results in flight backlogs, potentially extending the duration of your trip. Ramechhap's exclusive focus on Lukla flights contributes to more effective management of such backlogs.
Ramechhap Airport's proximity to Lukla is shorter than that of Kathmandu, leading to a flight duration of approximately 20 minutes. Despite operating a smaller aircraft fleet, Ramechhap can accommodate an increased number of flights when weather conditions are favorable.
Opting to depart from Ramechhap eliminates the need for extra days in your travel schedule. However, if a good night's sleep is a priority, traveling to Ramechhap a day ahead of your scheduled Lukla flight allows you to stay overnight at a hotel.
Chances of flight cancellation and delays at Ramechap airport
The likelihood of complete flight cancellations at Ramechhap Airport is minimal. Since Ramechhap Airport exclusively handles Lukla flights, the potential for air traffic-related delays is reduced. Flight operations are anticipated to proceed smoothly without the hindrance of air traffic or delays, except when adverse weather conditions impede flight movements. While the possibility of flight cancellations and delays due to weather factors remains, Ramechhap offers an advantage: even a slight improvement in weather conditions for a brief period allows flights to proceed. The flight duration of just 14 minutes between Ramechhap and Lukla facilitates swift responses to favorable weather windows.
In case of flight cancellation at Ramechap Airport?
The Himalayan region's weather can swiftly shift, resulting in potential delays or even the entire day's cancellation of Lukla flights. Such scenarios might require adjustments to your planned itinerary.
However, when considering Ramechhap Airport, the likelihood of flight cancellations and delays is notably lower compared to Kathmandu Airport. If a flight is canceled at Ramechhap Airport, we have contingency plans:
Rescheduling Options: Should your flight be canceled, we will either reschedule it for the following day or explore the possibility of arranging a chartered helicopter flight.
Advantage of Helicopter: Helicopters have the advantage of requiring less visibility than fixed-wing planes. Even when fixed-wing flights are grounded, helicopters can still take off, providing a potential alternative.
Cost and Compensation: The cost of a helicopter flight will be an additional expense. The exact cost depends on factors such as the number of passengers sharing the flight and demand. Typically accommodating up to 5 passengers, helicopter flights can range from USD 350 to USD 500 per person. However, if your flight is canceled, the full amount of your plane fare will be credited towards this alternative arrangement.
Can i fly from Kathmandu instead of Ramechap airport?
If you prefer not to undertake the 4-hour drive to Ramechhap Airport and take a flight to Lukla from there, an alternative is to opt for a helicopter flight from Kathmandu Airport. The precise cost of the helicopter flight depends on the number of passengers sharing the flight and the level of demand. Each helicopter has a capacity of accommodating 5 passengers, and the cost can range between USD 350 and USD 500 per person. It's important to note that the expense for a helicopter flight is separate, and in the event of choosing this option, the full amount of your plane fare will be credited accordingly.
Is the Flight from Ramechhap to Lukla Assured after a 4 to 5 Hour Drive to Manthali Airport from Kathmandu?
Undoubtedly, your decision to embark on the Everest Trek follows thorough research and consideration, and your timing couldn't be better. Nepal Mother House is dedicated to optimizing your experience, and we make every effort to ensure the best outcomes. Given the early morning drive of 4 to 5 hours, it's natural to wonder about the punctuality of the Lukla flight. Typically, there is a 99 percent likelihood that the flight from Ramechhap to Lukla will proceed as planned, barring exceptional circumstances. However, this also hinges on the weather conditions for the following day. Occasionally, the weather in the highlands, particularly around Lukla, can unexpectedly shift. In the rare event that weather conditions do not permit the flight, there's little to be done except to exercise patience and await a flight opportunity or explore an alternate trekking destination. We diligently manage all aspects within our control, although certain factors, such as weather or technical issues, remain beyond our influence. Let's maintain a positive outlook, as circumstances are likely to work in our favor.
How early should I check in at the Airport for catching my Lukla Flights From Ramechhap?
To ensure a seamless travel experience and timely departure for your Lukla flights from Ramechhap, it's recommended that you arrive at the airport with a minimum of one hour to spare before your scheduled flight time. This practice holds true for all domestic flights. Planning to be at the airport well in advance allows for necessary check-in procedures, security checks, and any other pre-flight formalities to be efficiently completed. This hour's buffer not only helps you avoid any potential last-minute rush or delays but also contributes to the overall efficiency of airport operations. It's essential to be well-prepared and organized to make the most of this suggested timeframe. Thus, I advise you to coordinate your departure from your hotel accordingly, ensuring that you have ample time to reach the airport, go through the required procedures, and board your Lukla flight smoothly.
Are there alternative transportation options to reach Lukla?
Certainly, if you're seeking a convenient journey to Everest Base Camp and prefer avoiding the drive to Manthali, you have the choice to opt for a helicopter flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. It's worth noting that this option comes at a higher cost, typically around USD 500 to 600 per person for a one-way trip, with each helicopter accommodating up to 5 passengers.
Moreover, for those considering alternatives to flights, the Everest Base Camp Trek by Road presents an attractive option. Each morning, jeeps depart from Chahabil Chok in Kathmandu to Thamdanda. Embarking on the journey to Lukla by jeep offers a more cost-effective approach to your EBC trek and provides a unique experience of Nepal while traversing its roads. The road from Kathmandu to Salleri/Phaplu is paved, with an approximate 8 to 9-hour drive, followed by a rough road to Thamdanda. If the rough terrain isn't appealing, an alternative start point for the Everest Base Camp Trek is from Salleri.
If you require further details regarding Lukla flight rerouting to Ramechhap or information about the Everest Trek, please don't hesitate to reach out to All Nepal Hiking Pvt. Ltd. We're here to assist you.