Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport
Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport
|Owner||Indian Air Force|
|Operator||Airports Authority of India|
|Location||Leh, Ladakh, India|
|Elevation AMSL||3,256 m / 10,682 ft|
|Coordinates||34°08′09″N 077°32′47″E / 34.13583°N 77.54639°ECoordinates: 34°08′09″N 077°32′47″E / 34.13583°N 77.54639°E|
|Statistics (April 2021 - March 2022)|
Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (IATA: IXL, ICAO: VILH) is a domestic airport serving Leh, the capital of Ladakh, India. It is the 23rd highest commercial airport in the world at 3,256 m (10,682 ft) above mean sea level. The airport is named after 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche, an Indian statesman and monk, whose Spituk Monastery is in direct vicinity to the airfield.
Due to the presence of mountain winds in the afternoon, all flights take off and land in the morning. The approach is challenging as it is unidirectional and has high terrain towards the eastern end of the airport. Airport security is highly restricted with Indian Army patrols. Due to its location in between the Himalayas, the approach to Leh Airport has been named as one of the world's most scenic approaches.
Civil aviation enclave
In February 2016, it was reported that the Indian Air Force had handed the airport to Airports Authority of India, which planned to expand it for civilian purposes. However, the reports of IAF vacating the entire air base were dismissed by Ministry of Defence and Deputy Commissioner of Leh. They clarified that the IAF would vacate only a small part of land for construction of a new terminal.
Construction of a new terminal has been completed. The new multi-level terminal is expected to span across approximately 19,000 square metres along with fixed link bridges and a utility building of around 3,340 square metres.
Due to increasing traffic, the Airports Authority of India is constructing a new state-of-the-art passenger terminal just beside the current terminal, at a cost of ₹ 480 crores. It will be equipped with all modern and essential passenger-friendly facilities and amenities. It will have a 4-star rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) rated energy-efficient terminal building, and will have 18 check-in counters, in-line baggage handing system and centralized cooling and heating systems for providing comfort to the passengers, specially during extreme winter times. It will be capable of serving 2 million passengers per annum.
Construction of the new terminal began in February 2019, and was expected to be completed by December 2022. Due to some delays, it is now expected to be completed by mid-2023.
Airlines and destinations
|Air India||Chandigarh, Delhi, Jammu, Srinagar|||
|Go First|| Delhi |
|IndiGo||Chandigarh, Delhi, Jammu (resumes 26 March 2023), Mumbai (resumes 26 March 2023)|||
|SpiceJet||Delhi, Srinagar |
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- ^ "Annexure IV - Freight Movement Data" (PDF). www.aai.aero. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
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- ^ "New terminal to be built at Leh airport for Rs 2 billion". 21 July 2016.
- ^ "Leh airport on expansion mode as Air Force gives 11 acres to AAI". 1 August 2017.
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