Nepal Table of Contents
Airplane at an unpaved landing strip at Lukla,
en route to the Khumbu region, gateway to the Everest area
Courtesy Janet MacDonald
Air transportation to Kathmandu from India started around 1950. Although the primary airport is Tribhuvan International Airport outside Kathmandu, more than thirty airfields have been added since the 1950s. The primary domestic air routes from Kathmandu in 1991 were to Jumla, Bhairahwa, Biratnagar, Nepalganj, Gorkha, and Pokhara. There also were international flights from West European cities, such as London and Frankfurt, and Asian cities, including Karachi, Paro (in Bhutan), New Delhi, Hong Kong, and Bangkok, to Kathmandu. Several airlines, including Royal Nepal Airlines (owned by the government), connected Kathmandu with cities in other parts of the world. These flights have facilitated international traffic considerably. Royal Nepal Airlines reported approximately 452,000 passengers in FY 1986, approximately 569,200 passengers in FY 1988, and approximately 608,300 passengers in FY 1990. The carrier transported almost 3,900 tons of freight in FY 1986, approximately 6,000 tons in FY 1988, and about 7,260 tons in FY 1990. The Royal Nepal Airlines fleet, which was to be increased by two Boeing 757 aircraft in 1991, was often disabled by poor maintenance and lack of spare parts and aircraft. In the absence of Nepalese operations, the Soviet Union's Aeroflot, Bhutan's Druk-Air, and Hong Kong's Dragonair began servicing Kathmandu during 1990.
Data as of September 1991