In a bid to reduce congestion, Nepali authorities have replaced Kathmandu with Ramechhap as the departure and arrival point for all flights to Lukla, the gateway to the Everest trekking region.

The shocking images of trekkers queuing at the summit of Everest shows us that there is an issue when it comes to over-tourism in Nepal. In an attempt to minimise the load from TIA and to ease international operations from TIA, flights to Lukla will now depart from Ramechhap.

The new routing, which affects all tour operators in Nepal, is in place until end November 2019, with authorities assessing whether to continue after 1 December, 2019.

 

What does this mean for travellers?

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This little airport swapsie may add extra travel time to the trip, but we promise, the Ramechhap to Lukla flight isn’t as bad as it sounds:

  • Ramechhap Airport actually increases your probability of landing in Everest as the airport solely dedicates itself to operating Lukla flights. 
  • Travellers avoid traffic congestion in the Kathmandu airport.
  • Ramechhap Airport is closer to Lukla than Kathmandu and takes only 15-20 minutes, making a favorable environment for more flights to operate despite the limitation in the number of Aircraft.
  • Be a part of the solution by helping the country manage the influx of travellers visiting the magical Himalayas.
“During the mountaineering season there are around 50 flights every day to Lukla from Kathmandu, which ultimately creates congestion. If we could transfer those flights to Ramechhap it would be beneficial for the airport management, airline companies and passengers,”

Rajan Pokharel, officiating director general of CAAN

 

What are the tour companies doing?

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Many tour operators will have clients departing Kathmandu by vehicle at 2am, to reach Ramechap in time for the first morning flights to Lukla.

World Expeditions has announced its clients will stay overnight in Ramechap to ensure they get a good nights’ rest before they begin trekking.

The company looked at many options including helicoptering clients to Lukla, before opting to have clients stay in the company’s comfortable and conveniently located campsites in Ramechap and allowing plenty of time for acclimatisation.

“We want our clients to be fresh and well rested when they start the trekking part of their holiday.” “Instead of departing Kathmandu at 2am, World Expeditions clients will depart Kathmandu mid-morning, stopping for lunch and arriving into Ramechap around 4.30pm,”

Kelvin Law, World Expeditions Himalayan Operations Manager

World Expeditions is the longest established and most experienced tour operator in Nepal and offers dozens of treks all over the country, including the exclusive 150 day traverse of Nepal, along the Great Himalaya Trail. Its network of permanent campsites ensures its travellers do not contribute to deforestation which is one of the most serious environmental problems facing the country.