Tribhuvan International Airport

Tribhuvan International Airport
त्रिभुवन अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय विमानस्थल
Airport type Public
Operator Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN)
Serves Kathmandu, Nepal
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 4,390 ft / 1,338 m
Coordinates 27°41′47″N 085°21′32″E / 27.69639°N 85.35889°E / 27.69639; 85.35889Coordinates: 27°41′47″N 085°21′32″E / 27.69639°N 85.35889°E / 27.69639; 85.35889
Location within Nepal
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02/20 3,050 10,007 concrete
Statistics (2016[1])
Passengers (domestic and international) 5,27 million
Passenger change 2015-16 15%
Aircraft movements (domestic and international) 103,248
Movements change 2015-16 28%
Sources: CAAN[2] and DAFIF[3][4]

Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) (Nepali: त्रिभुवन अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय विमानस्थल, IATA: KTM, ICAO: VNKT) is an international airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, located in the Kathmandu Valley about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from the city center of Kathmandu. The airport has served as an airfield since 1949, and was inaugurated in 1955 by King Mahendra of Nepal. It received its current name in 1964. Originally a grass runway, it was re-laid in concrete in 1957 and has been extended several times. The first jet aircraft landed at Tribhuvan in 1967 and regular jet operations commenced in 1972.

The airport has one domestic and one international terminal. At present, over 30 international airlines connect Nepal to destinations in Asia and the Middle East, and the airport serves as a hub for several Nepalese airlines. It is the sole international airport in Nepal, several projects are ongoing to construct further international airports, including Nijgadh International Airport, Pokhara International Airport and Gautam Buddha Airport.


The airport was originally named Gauchaur Airport, after the area of Kathmandu where it was situated. The formal beginning of aviation in Nepal occurred in 1949, with the landing of a Beechcraft Bonanza carrying the Indian ambassador. The first charter flight took place between Gauchaur and Calcutta, in a Himalayan Aviation Dakota on 20 February 1950.[5]

In 1955, the airport was inaugurated by King Mahendra and renamed Tribhuvan Airport in memory of the king's father. The airport was again renamed Tribhuvan International Airport in 1964. The original grass runway was re-laid in concrete in 1957 and extended from 3,750 feet (1,140 m), to 6,600 feet (2,000 m) in 1967. The runway was again extended from 6,600 feet (2,000 m) to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) in 1975.[5]

The first jet aircraft to land at Tribhuvan was a Lufthansa Boeing 707 in 1967.[5] Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation commenced jet operations at the airport in 1972 with Boeing 727 aircraft.[5]

In May 2007, Austrian Airlines discontinued their flight to Vienna, Nepal's last direct air link to Europe.[6] Since September 2013, Turkish Airlines launched direct flights from Istanbul to Kathmandu, re-establishing Nepal's connection with continental Europe.[7]


The airport has a single 10,007 feet (3,050 m) concrete runway orientated 02/20. There is no instrument landing system available.[8] The airport has two public terminals—one for international and one for domestic traffic. It also has a terminal for VIP guests. There are some tea shops outside the airport. A few ATMs are also located at the airport.

Radisson Hotel Kathmandu operates an executive lounge for first and business class passengers for some airlines[9] and Thai Airways operates a lounge for its business-class passengers, as well as Star Alliance Gold card holders.[10]

Location and access

Tribhuvan International Airport is located 1 km (0.6 mi) away from Pashupatinath Temple, 6 km (3.7 mi) east of city center and main tourists area Thamel.[11] Airport is connected to different parts of Kathmandu by city bus Sajha Yatayat, local buses out of airport and cabs. The nearest hotel is Airport Hotel located just 200 m (0.1 mi) from the airport.

Airlines and destinations

Air Arabia Sharjah
Air China Chengdu, Lhasa
Air India Delhi, Kolkata
AirAsia X Kuala Lumpur–International (ends 12 Oct 2018)
Bhutan Airlines Delhi, Paro
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Dhaka
Buddha Air Bhadrapur, Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Dhangadhi, Janakpur, Kolkata (begins 1 September 2018),[12] Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Simara, Surkhet,[13] Tumlingtar, Varanasi
Charter: Paro
Cathay Dragon Hong Kong
China Eastern Airlines Kunming
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou
Druk Air Delhi, Paro
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
flydubai Dubai–International
Himalaya Airlines Dammam,[14] Doha, Dubai–International,[15] Kuala Lumpur–International
Charter: Colombo[16]
IndiGo Delhi
Jet Airways Delhi, Mumbai
Korean Air Seoul–Incheon
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur–International
Malindo Air Kuala Lumpur–International
Nepal Airlines Baglung, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Bengaluru, Bhadrapur, Bhairahawa, Bhojpur, Biratnagar, Delhi, Dhangadhi, Doha, Dubai–International, Hong Kong, Khanidanda, Kuala Lumpur–International, Lukla, Meghauli, Mumbai, Phaplu, Pokhara, Rukum-Chaurjahari, Rumjatar, Simara, Surkhet,[17] Taplejung, Tumlingtar[18][19][20]
Oman Air Muscat
Qatar Airways Doha
Regent Airways Dhaka[21]
SalamAir Muscat (begins 11th September, 2018)[22]
Saurya Airlines Bhairahawa, Bhadrapur, Biratnagar, Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi
Shree Airlines Bhairahawa, Bhadrapur, Biratnagar, Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi,[23] Rajbiraj[24]
Sichuan Airlines Chengdu, Lhasa
SilkAir Singapore
Simrik Airlines Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Pokhara[25]
Sita Air Lukla, Nepalgunj, Pokhara
Charter: Phaplu, Ramechhap, Tumlingtar[26]
Summit Air Khanidanda, Lukla, Phaplu, Taplejung, Tumlingtar[27]
Tara Air Bhojpur, Khanidanda, Lamidanda, Lukla, Nepalgunj, Phaplu
Charter: Ramechhap, Taplejung[28]
Thai Airways Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Thai Lion Air Bangkok–Don Mueang[29]
Tibet Airlines Chengdu, Lhasa,[30] Xi'an[31]
Turkish Airlines Istanbul–Atatürk
Wataniya Airways Kuwait[32]
Yeti Airlines Bhadrapur, Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Janakpur, Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Tumlingtar

The helicopter operators Fishtail Air, Shree Airlines, Manang Air, Simrik Air and Air Dynasty offer helicopter operations out of Tribhuvan International Airport.

Several Airlines (including Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines and Simrik Airlines) also provide daily mountain sightseeing flights or Mount Everest sightseeing flights out of Kathmandu Airport. They usually depart from the domestic terminal in the early morning hours and return to the airport one hour later.[25][33][34]

Ground transportation

Sajha Yatayat buses connect the airport's international terminal to city centre, with the last bus leaving the airport at around 18:00. Buses from other local companies stop in front of the airport's main gate, 500 meters in front of the airport buildings. Meter and prepaid taxis are available at both terminals at all hours.


Passenger numbers

Passengers (Domestic and International)[35][36][1]
2000 1,914,349
2001 1,849,766
2002 1,600,309
2003 1,748,082
2004 2,016,850
2005 2,362,885
2006 2,265,758
2007 2,543,482
2008 2,867,216
2009 3,405,015
2010 3,991,259
2011 4,508,962
2012 4,500,176
2013 4,682,906
2014 4,962,205
2015 4,581,210
2016 5,268,338

Incidents and accidents

  • 10 May 1972 – A Thai Airways Douglas DC-8 overran the runway on landing with 100 of passengers and 10 crew on board, there was one fatality.[37]
  • 31 July 1992 – An Airbus A310-304, operating as Thai Airways International Flight 311 crashed into a mountain while approaching Kathmandu, killing all 113 people on board.[38]
  • 28 September 1992 – An Airbus A300 B4-203 operating as PIA Flight 268 crashed, killing all 167 on board.[39]
  • 17 January 1995 – Royal Nepal Airlines De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 (9N-ABI), flight RA133 from Kathmandu to Rumjatar, had problems getting airborne at Tribhuvan International Airport. The aircraft struck the airfield perimeter fence and plunged into fields. Of three crew and 21 passengers on board, one crew member and one passenger were killed.[40]
  • 7 July 1999 – A Boeing 727-200F of Lufthansa Cargo Airlines, five minutes after takeoff, crashed in the Champadevi hills at the 7550 feet level, when it should have been at an altitude of 9500 feet. All five crew members on board were killed.[41]
  • 5 September 1999 – Necon Air Flight 128 from Pokhara to Kathmandu, a BAe 748-501 Super 2B (9N-AEG), crashed while approaching Tribhuvan International Airport. The aircraft collided with a communication tower of Nepal Telecommunication Corporation and crashed in a wooded area 25 km west of Kathmandu. All 10 passengers and 5 crew were killed.[42]
  • 26 December 1999 – Indian Airlines Flight 814 was hijacked en route from Kathmandu to Delhi. The aircraft ended up in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Indian Airlines suspended all flights to and from Nepal for some time, fearing a lack of security at check-in.[43]
  • 24 December 2008 – A Nepal Airlines De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 (9N ABM) ran off the runway during takeoff[44]
  • 24 August 2010 – Agni Air Flight 101, a Dornier Do 228 aircraft (9N-AHE), crashed into hills outside Kathmandu in heavy rain.[45] All on board (3 crew, 11 passengers) were killed.[46] The plane, crashed near Shikharpur village, 80 km (50 mi) south of Kathmandu. The aircraft had left Tribhuvan International Airport, bound for Tenzing-Hillary Airport.
  • 15 December 2010 – A Tara Air De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 en route to Tribhuvan International Airport from Lamidanda Airport, lost signal 162 km (101 mi) east of Kathmandu and crashed. All 19 passengers and three crew members on board were killed. The passengers were Bhutanese citizens and the three crew members were Nepali citizens.[47]
  • 25 September 2011 – Buddha Air Flight 103, a Beechcraft 1900D, struck terrain while on approach to Tribhuvan International Airport. There were 16 passengers and three crew members on board. Initial reports stated there was one survivor, who died en route to hospital. At the time of the crash, the weather was overcast with very low clouds and flights were operating under visual flight rules. The aircraft was on the base leg of the approach following a sightseeing flight.[48]
  • 28 September 2012 – Sita Air Flight 601, a Dornier Do 228, crashed soon after take-off, after apparently hitting a vulture. Sixteen passengers and three crew members were killed.[49]
  • 4 March 2015 – A Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-300 veered off the runway after attempting to land in dense fog. The aircraft had been circling for 30 minutes and was making its second landing attempt, after a previous aborted attempt due to poor visibility.[50] The aircraft skidded into soft grass causing the nose wheel to collapse and the airport to temporarily close to all international flights.[51] All 227 passengers and 11 crew members evacuated the aircraft safely.[52]
  • 12 March 2018 - US-Bangla Airlines Flight 211, a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, carrying 67 passengers and 4 crew veered off the runway while landing then crashed on the east side of Tribhuvan International Airport catching fire. 47 passengers and 4 crew were killed. [53]
  • 19 April 2018 - A Malindo Air Boeing 737-900ER flying to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu overran a runway after a high-speed rejected takeoff. The aircraft skidded roughly 250 feet (75 metres) south of the runway end and stopped along a grassy area between two runways. All 132 passengers and seven crew members escaped injury. Damage to the aircraft was minor, and the airport was closed for 12 hours until it was removed. The flight crew opted to abort the takeoff due to a warning indicated the aircraft was not correctly configured.[54]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Civil Aviation Report 2017" (PDF). Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  2. "Tribhuvan International Airport". Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  3. Airport information for VNKT at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
  4. Airport information for KTM / VNKT at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
  5. 1 2 3 4 Administrator. "Chronology". Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  6. "Austrian bids farewell to the 737", Airliner World, June 2013: p6
  7. Medyasoft (c) 2012. "International Flight Destinations & Special Offers – Turkish Airlines". Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  8. "Kathmandu – Tribhuvan Airport (KTM/VNKT)". Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  9. "Airport Restaurant and Executive Lounge" (PDF). Radisson. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  10. "Royal Orchid Lounge". Thai Airways. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  11. "Tribhuvan International Airport". Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  12. "Buddha Air starting Kolkata flights from September". República. 12 January 2018. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  13. "Buddha Air to resume Surkhet flights". The Himalayan Times. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  14. "Himalaya Airlines' Festival Bonanza: Daily direct flight from Kathmandu to Dammam". Archived from the original on 3 September 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  15. "Nepal's Himalaya Airlines to modify Dubai ops in 4Q17". ch-aviation. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  16. "Nepal welcomes three new carriers; overall capacity to the nation down 3.9%; Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka to be next country markets?". Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  17. "Nepal Airlines to begin Ktm-Surkhet-Ktm flights from new year". Aviation Nepal. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  18. "INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHEDULE 2017". Nepal Airlines. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  19. "NAC to commence Regular Flights to Meghauli and Taplejung from Nov 29". Aviation Nepal. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  20. "DOMESTIC SUMMER SCHEDULE WEF 01 AUG TILL 31 AUG 2018". Nepal Airlines. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  21. "Regent Airways initiates direct flight to Nepal". Aviation Nepal. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  23. "Shree Airlines - Fly the new High". Shree Airlines. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  24. "Shree Airlines preparing Rajbiraj flights starting from June 24". Aviation Nepal. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  25. 1 2 "Flight Schedule". Simrik Airlines. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  26. "Flight Schedule". Sita Air. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  27. "Flight Schedule". Summit Air. Archived from the original on 8 July 2017. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  28. "Flight Schedule". Tara Air. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  29. "Thai Lion Air revises Nepal preliminary launch to August 2018". Routesonline. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  30. "Tibet Airlines adds Nepal service from March 2017". Airlineroute. 6 February 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  31. "Tibet Airlines adds international routes from Xi'An from late-Aug 2017". routesonline. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  32. "Wataniya Airways begin service to Nepal from December 2017". Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  33. "Everest Experience". Buddha Air. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  34. "Amazing Everest Experience". Yeti Airlines. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  35. "Civil Aviation Report 2009-2010" (PDF). Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  36. "Civil Aviation Report 2011-2012" (PDF). Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  37. Harro Ranter (10 May 1973). "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-8-33 HS-TGU Kathmandu-Tribhuvan Airport (KTM)". Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  38. "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  39. "Hunt goes on for black box in Airbus wreckage". The Independent. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  40. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 18 November 2006.
  41. Harro Ranter (7 July 1999). "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 727-243F VT-LCI Kathmandu". Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  42. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 18 November 2006.
  43. "Terror on Indian Airlines Flight 814". The Herald. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  44. The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
  45. "Nepal tourist plane crash kills 14". BBC News. 24 August 2010.
  46. "All 14 killed in Nepal plane crash". The Times of India. 24 August 2010. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010.
  47. "All passengers killed in Nepal plane crash". BBC News. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  48. "No survivors in Nepal air crash". Aljazeera. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  49. Sanjaya Dhakal BBC Nepali (28 September 2012). "BBC News – Nepal plane crash kills 19 at Kathmandu". Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  50. Saul, Heather (4 March 2015). "Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway in dense fog". The Independent. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  51. "TIA to remain closed until 10 am Friday". 5 March 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  52. Pokharel, Krishna (4 March 2015). "Turkish Airlines Jet Veers Off Runway in Nepal". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  53. "ASN Aircraft accident de Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8 S2-AGU Kathmandu-Tribhuvan Airport (KTM)".
  54. "Incident: Batik Malaysia B739 at Kathmandu on Apr 19th 2018, rejected takeoff due to takeoff config warning results in overrun". Retrieved 2018-05-15.
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