Bad weather leaves 300 stranded in Lukla

Kathmandu, September 16

Around 300 passengers have been stranded at Tenzing Hillary Airport, Lukla, since Friday due to bad weather.

According to Rohit Karn, senior air traffic control officer at Lukla airport, flights have been affected due to inclement weather since Friday. “No flight has operated since Friday as thick fog affects visibility almost every day,” he said. “Due to this, around 300 passengers have been stranded at the airport for four days.”

Although none of the scheduled flights took off or landed on Friday, five flights were conducted on Saturday. After that flights have neither taken off nor landed at Lukla airport, he added.

According to ATC of Lukla airport, around 20 flights were scheduled for Friday, 25 for Saturday and 30 for Sunday. Karn added that around 35 to 40 flights a day had been scheduled for the ongoing week. “As the tourist season has begun, airline companies have announced that they are increasing the number of flights from this week. But bad weather has affected the flights,” he said.

Around 25 daily flights are operated to and from Lukla airport on normal days, while the number goes up to 40 during the peak season.

Passengers travelling to the Everest region are bound to take the air route as the land route is not yet operational. However, unpredictable weather in the Lukla region is a major hassle for passengers every year, he said.

“The weather of Lukla is unpredictable. The scheduled flights are always affected, leaving a number of passengers stranded each year,” he said. “The weather is unlikely to be favourable for the next two days.”

Nepal Airlines Corporation, Tara Air, Sita Air and Summit Air are operating flights to Lukla.

Since the tourist season began this month, airline companies have been receiving a higher number of air ticket bookings for Lukla flights.