Saturday, February 23, 2019

Kathmandu TIA Airport | Partial Closure 10 pm - 8 am

As per the information received from the TIA authorities Kathmandu airport will be closed for repairs from 10 pm to 8 am daily from 1 April 2019 to 30th June 2019.

The logic of closing the airport during the busy spring tourist season baffles me - this could have been done in the winter off season but who is to argue with the Nepal authorities?

The result of this closure will have several ramifications this spring:

  • International flights which were landing at night will all have to be rescheduled during the day thereby adding to further airport congestion and delays. Baggage handing will also have significant delays. 

  • Domestic flights will possibly also get affected with more international flights coming in during the day, they will not get priority.

  • The early morning flights to Lukla from Kathmandu starting at 6 am will be affected as they will only be allowed to fly after 8 am and that too if they get a departure slot. At this point we are not sure if Lukla flights will operate out of TIA airport.

These two circulars below from Tara Air and Summit Air indicate that Lukla flights  will be flown from an airport called Ramechhap  150 km from Kathmandu and a four hour drive. So in order to get a Ramechhap Lukla flight at 6 am it will be necessary to leave Kathmandu around 1 am in the morning - not a very enjoyable journey on bad Nepal roads! I understand that the  accommodation in Ramechhap is extremely basic so staying a night there is not a very palatable option!

I expect the Everest passenger traffic will be down this spring and those who can afford it will charter helicopters from Kathmandu.  After the current helicopter scams, charter costs Kathmandu- Lukla have been hovering around $2800 for a helicopter - five persons.

I will post further updates as and when I receive further information.

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