Adverse Weather Grounds Flights at Tenzing Hillary Airport, Stranding Tourists

LUKLA: Tourists in the Khumbu region are experiencing significant stress and frustration due to a ten-day disruption of flights at Tenzing Hillary Airport in Lukla. The adverse weather conditions, primarily thick fog and poor visibility, have severely impacted air travel, leaving many visitors stranded.

Divas Dahal, Air Controller at the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) in Lukla, reported that the fog and low visibility have grounded both airplanes and helicopters since June 8. “It is the time the foreign tourists returned to Kathmandu after traveling to the Sagarmatha area. The number of tourists leaving the district is more than arrivals. But adverse weather took a toll on air service,” Dahal explained.

The cancellation of all flight schedules for the past ten days has left many tourists in a difficult situation. The dense fog and frequent poor visibility, characteristic of Lukla’s geographical specificity, have made it impossible for regular flights to operate safely.

While the main air services remain suspended, Dahal noted that some helicopters have managed to operate from Surke helipad, located below Lukla, where the weather conditions are relatively clearer. “Surke is relatively clear,” he added, suggesting a potential, though limited, alternative for stranded travelers.

Tourists have been advised to consider a four-hour trek down from Lukla airport to Surke, where they can find vehicles for Kathmandu. Another option is to travel from Tham Danda to Kathmandu by jeep, providing a feasible, though more time-consuming, alternative to air travel.

The disruption has particularly affected those planning to leave the region after their trek to the Sagarmatha area, contributing to mounting stress and logistical challenges. As the adverse weather persists, authorities are closely monitoring the situation, hoping for conditions to improve soon and restore normal flight operations.

Fiscal Nepal |
Tuesday June 18, 2024, 11:27:10 AM |

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