Flight Delays and Cancellations in Nepal

Nepal is a country of beautiful mountains with diverse topography. Hence, thousands of international tourists visit Nepal to spend their vacations every year. Among them, 80 percent of the tourists who visit the country come to indulge themselves in mountain adventure and outdoor activities. Every tourist who comes to visit Nepal has limited holiday time, and flight delays or cancellations make more trouble in their travel plan.

Due to its varied landscapes and climatic variations, domestic flights are often delayed or cancellations in Nepal. Especially, if you have domestic flights in your Nepal tour itinerary, you should be aware of flight delays and cancellations.

Having said that, the following are some of the main reasons that your domestic flight may be delayed or cancellations in Nepal:

Adverse Weather Condition

Flights may be delayed, rescheduled, or even canceled due to inclement weather. As there is a lack of a technical instrumental landing system at Tribhuvan International Airport for domestic flights, As a result, in the occurrence of bad weather, flights are delayed or canceled to ensure the safety of all the passengers. It can be risky for planes to take off, fly, and land if there is thick fog, sleet, rain, and strong wind. The most likely times for flight delays and cancellations are during the winter and rainy seasons. However, we advise you to check the favorable season to visit Nepal before making plans.

Air traffic congestion at Kathmandu Airport

There is only one international airport in Nepal, Tribhuvan International Airport, and it has only one runway and approach system, which leads backlog on TIA’s runway, as there are no landing alternatives. Hence, International flights that fly long distances are given the first priority for landing, compromising domestic flights. So, the single runway and one-way approach are the primary causes of flight delays or cancellations at TIA. Flight delays are expected at Tribhuvan International Airport for the next few years till the development is completed.

Geographically Diverse

Nepal is a country with a wide range of geographical features. Some domestic airports are in difficult terrain. such as Lukla Airport, the gateway to the Everest region. Flights to Lukla are one of the most unpredictable as it located in the mountain region. The weather in Lukla often gets worse. When the weather is poor, flights to Lukla often get delayed or canceled to ensure the passengers’ safety.

In addition, if you are trekking in the Everest region or any other mountainous place where you are using flight, it is highly recommended that you add a few more days (at least 1 day extra) to your tour. The extra days will ensure that you don’t miss your flight back home or to another destination.

Limited Air spaces at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA)

As Tribhuvan International Airport is under control. In order to enter or leave Kathmandu, all aircraft must receive air traffic controller authorization. The majority of aircraft outside of Kathmandu are delayed because due to a lack of airspace. The topography of Nepal is mountainous, which restricts the design of the airspace and the planning of aviation routes, which reduces the effective use of the airspace.

Note: The Everest Region lies in mountainous terrain and has a short runway. Flights to Lukla are unpredictable and can be get canceled or delayed at any time. In order to prevent these situations, the best course of action is to charter a private helicopter to chase your dream adventure (EBC). However, you must pay an additional fee to hire a private helicopter.

  • Pokhara International Airport is a work-in-progress that is about 93 percent finished. It is located in the Gandaki province’s Pokhara. It is the most well-known tourist destination in the nation and is located 200 kilometers from Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. The airport is expected to open in 2022 and contain a 2,500-meter runway with concrete jet bridges. Due to the covid-19 and some technical issues, construction is still in progress. This airport will eventually become the third international airport in Nepal. Hence, We believe that it might help to lower the probability of flight cancellations and delays.