Tribhuvan International Airport

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Tribhuvan International Airport
त्रिभुवन अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय विमानस्थल
TIA Logo.jpg
2009-03 Kathmandu 10.jpg
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
KTM is located in Nepal
Location within Nepal
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02/20 3,050 10,007 concrete
Statistics (2009)
Passengers 3,405,015
Passenger change 08–09 Increase18.8%
Aircraft movements 91,884
Movements change 08–09 Increase10.0%
Sources: CAAN[1] and DAFIF[2][3]

Tribhuvan International Airport (Nepali: त्रिभुवन अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय विमानस्थल, IATA: KTMICAO: VNKT) is an international airport in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is the sole international airport in Nepal and has one domestic and one international terminal. At present, about 30 international airlines connect Nepal to destinations in Asia and the Middle East. The airport is about six kilometres from the city centre, in the Kathmandu valley.


The airport began as Gauchaur Airport, named after the area of Kathmandu where it was situated. The formal beginning of aviation in Nepal occurred in 1949 with the landing of a lone, four-seater, Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft, carrying the Indian ambassador. The first charter flight took place between Gaucher and Calcutta, in a Himalayan Aviation Dakota on 20 February 1950.[4]

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.[4]

The first jet aircraft to land at Tribhuvan was a Air India Boeing 707, which touched down on the 6,600 feet (2,000 m) runway in 1967. Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation commenced jet operations at the airport in 1972 with Boeing 727 aircraft.[4]

The airport is now again connected to Europe with service by Turkish Airlines to Istanbul, after a long gap without service to Europe when Royal Nepal ended their flights to Frankfurt and London in 2001.


The airport has two public terminals; one for international and one for domestic traffic. It also has a terminal for VIP guests.

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

  • Main Air Terminal
  • Hangars and parking facilities – located north of the terminal
  • Fuel tanks – located south of the terminal
  • Parking – outdoor area located next to terminal
  • fire station – crash tenders operated by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal Fire Division

Airlines and destinations[edit]

File:Tribhuvan International Airport building.JPG
Outside view to the terminal at Tribhuvan International Airport
Jet Airways Boeing 737-800 taxiing at Tribhuvan International Airport
Qatar Airways Airbus A320 ground handling at Tribhuvan International Airport
Nepal Airlines Boeing 757-200 at Tribhuvan International Airport. The airport is a main hub for the airline.
Airlines Destinations Terminal
Air Arabia Sharjah International
Air Asia X Kuala Lumpur International
Air China Chengdu, Lhasa International
Air India Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi International
BB Airways Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur International
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Dhaka International
Buddha Air Bhadrapur, Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Dhangadhi, Janakpur, Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Simara, Tumlingtar Domestic
Buddha Air Varanasi, Thimphu/Paro International
China Eastern Airlines Kunming, Shanghai-Pudong[5] International
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou International
Dragonair Hong Kong International
Druk Air Thimphu/Paro, Delhi International
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi International
Flydubai Dubai International
Gorkha Airlines Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Nepal, Janakpur, Lukla, Pokhara, Simara Airport, Tumlingtar Domestic
Guna Airlines Bhairahawa, Pokhara, Simara Airport, Biratnagar Domestic
IndiGo Delhi International
Jet Airways Delhi, Mumbai International
Korean Air Seoul-Incheon International
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur International
Malindo Air Kuala Lumpur (begins 18 January 2015) International
Nepal Airlines Bhadrapur, Bhojpur, Biratnagar, Chaurjhari, Dhangadhi Lamidanda, Phaplu, Pokhara, Rukumkot, Rumjatar, Tumlingtar, Lukla Domestic
Nepal Airlines Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Doha, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur International
Oman Air Muscat International
Qatar Airways Doha International
Saurya Airlines Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Dhangadhi, Nepalgunj Domestic
Sichuan Airlines Chengdu International
SilkAir Singapore International
Simrik Airlines Lukla, Pokhara, Simara, Bhairahawa Domestic
Sita Air Biratnagar, Dang, Dhangadhi, Janakpur, Jomsom, Lukla, Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Tumlingtar[6] Domestic
SpiceJet Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra International
Tara Air Bhojpur, Lamidanda, Lukla, Nepalgunj, Phaplu, Ramechhap[7] Domestic
Tashi Air Paro[8] International
Thai Airways Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi International
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk International
United Airways Dhaka International
Yeti Airlines Bhadrapur, Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Dhangadhi, Janakpur, Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Tumlingtar[9] Domestic

Ground transportation[edit]

The airport is connected to the cities of Kathmandu and Lalitpur (Patan) through the busses of Sajha Yatayat, which stop in front of the international terminal. Local busses are available outside of the airport gate. There are local as well as pre-paid taxis available at both terminals.

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • 10 May 1972 – A Douglas DC-8 of Thai Airways International overran the runway on landing at Tribhuvan International Airport. Of 100 passengers and 10 crew on board, there was one fatality.[10]
  • 31 July 1992 – An Airbus 310-304, operating as Thai Airways International Flight 311 crashed into a mountain while approaching Kathmandu, killing all 113 people on board.
  • 28 September 1992 – An Airbus A300 B4-203 operating as PIA Flight 268 crashed, killing all 167 on board.
  • 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.[11]
  • 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.[12]
  • 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.[13]
  • 26 December 1999 – Indian Airlines Flight 814 was hijacked en route from Kathmandu to Delhi. The aircraft eventually 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.
  • 24 December 2008 – A Nepal Airlines De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 (9N ABM) ran off the runway during takeoff[14]
  • 24 August 2010 – Agni Air Flight 101, a Dornier Do 228 aircraft (9N-AHE), crashed into hills outside Kathmandu in heavy rain.[15] All on board (3 crew, 11 passengers) were killed.[16] 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.
  • 25 September 2011 – A Beechcraft 1900D, operated by Buddha Air, 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 later 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.
  • 28 September 2012 – A Sita Air Dornier Do 228 crashed soon after take-off, after apparently hitting a vulture. Sixteen passengers and three crew members were killed.[17]
  • 21 March 2014 – A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737 ran into a flock of ducks with 180 on board. There were no fatalities, but 10 ducks were killed.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tribhuvan International Airport". Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. 
  2. ^ Airport information for VNKT at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
  3. ^ Airport information for KTM / VNKT at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective Oct. 2006).
  4. ^ a b c CAA Nepal
  5. ^ "Chinese airlines opens 1st Shanghai-Kathmandu Route". People Daily. 2 November 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Sita Air destinations list
  7. ^ Tara Air schedulef flights timetable
  8. ^ Bhutan Airlines starts Kathmandu flights
  9. ^ Yeti Airlines timetable for witnter season 2012/2013
  10. ^ ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-8-33 HS-TGU Kathmandu-Tribhuvan Airport (KTM)
  11. ^ Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 18 November 2006.
  12. ^ ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 727-243F VT-LCI Kathmandu
  13. ^ Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 18 November 2006.
  14. ^ The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
  15. ^ "Nepal tourist plane crash kills 14". BBC News. 24 August 2010. 
  16. ^ "All 14 killed in Nepal plane crash". Times of India. 24 August 2010. 
  17. ^ Sanjaya Dhakal BBC Nepali (28 September 2012). "BBC News – Nepal plane crash kills 19 at Kathmandu". Retrieved 20 May 2013. 

External links[edit]