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. The airport is about six kilometres from the city centre, in the Kathmandu valley. It is the sole international airport in Nepal and has served as an airfield since 1949. The airport was inaugurated in 1955 by King Mahendra and 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, about 30 international airlines connect Nepal to destinations in Asia and the Middle East, and the airport serves as a hub for several Nepalese airlines. In 2001, Royal Nepal Airlines discontinued their flights to Frankfurt and London, which severed Nepal's direct air links with Europe. Recently, Turkish Airlines launched direct flights from Istanbul to Kathmandu, re-establishing Nepal's connection with continental Europe. The Nepalese government has also recently announced that agreements have been made with Air New Zealand, Vietnam Airlines, and El Al to schedule direct flights to Kathmandu from Auckland, Hanoi, and Tel Aviv (Not limited to codeshare flights).


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 aircraft, carrying the Indian ambassador. The first charter flight took place between Gauchaur 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 Lufthansa Boeing 707 in 1967.[4] Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation commenced jet operations at the airport in 1972 with Boeing 727 aircraft.[4]

In May 2007, Austrian Airlines discontinued their flight to Vienna which severed Nepal's direct air links with Europe.[5] Since September 2013, Turkish Airlines launched direct flights from Istanbul to Kathmandu, re-establishing Nepal's connection with continental Europe.[6]


The airport has a single 10,007 feet (3,050 m) concrete runway orientated 02/20. There is no instrument landing system available.[7] 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.

Ground transportation[edit]

The airport is connected to the cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur (Patan) via buses operated by Sajha Yatayat. There are local buses and taxis available at both terminals.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Tribhuvan International Airport building
Outside view to the terminal at Tribhuvan International Airport
Thai Airways Boeing 777-200 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 Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah International
AirAsia Kuala Lumpur-International International
Air China Chengdu, Lhasa International
Air India Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi International
Bhutan Airlines Delhi, Paro International
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Dhaka International
Buddha Air Bhadrapur, Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Dhangadhi, Janakpur, Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Simara, Tumlingtar Domestic
Buddha Air Gaya, Varanasi International
China Eastern Airlines Kunming, Shanghai-Pudong International
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou (resumes 27 March 2016)[8] International
Dragonair Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Hong Kong International
Druk Air Delhi, Thimphu/Paro International
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi International
FlyDubai Dubai-Al Maktoum, Dubai-International International
IndiGo Delhi International
Jet Airways Delhi, Mumbai International
Korean Air Seoul-Incheon International
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur-International International
Malindo Air Kuala Lumpur-International International
Nepal Airlines Bhadrapur, Bhojpur, Biratnagar, Chaurjahari and Rukumkot, Dhangadhi Lamidanda, Lukla, Phaplu, Pokhara, Rumjatar, Tumlingtar Domestic
Nepal Airlines Bangalore, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Delhi, Doha, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur-International, Mumbai International
Oman Air Muscat International
Qatar Airways Doha International
Saurya Airlines Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Dhangadhi, Nepalgunj Domestic
Sichuan Airlines Chengdu, International
Silk Air Singapore International
Simrik Airlines Bhairahawa, Jomsom, Lukla, Pokhara, Simara Domestic
Sita Air Biratnagar, Dang, Dhangadhi, Janakpur, Jomsom, Lukla, Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Tumlingtar Domestic
Tara Air Bhojpur, Lamidanda, Lukla, Nepalgunj, Phaplu, Ramechhap Domestic
Thai Airways Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi International
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk International
Yeti Airlines Bhadrapur, Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Dhangadhi, Janakpur, Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Tumlingtar Domestic

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • 10 May 1972 – A Thai Airways Douglas DC-8 overran the runway on landing, and of 100 passengers and 10 crew on board, there was one fatality.[9]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • 28 September 1992 – An Airbus A300 B4-203 operating as PIA Flight 268 crashed, killing all 167 on board.[citation needed]
  • 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.[10]
  • 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.[11]
  • 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.[12]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • 24 December 2008 – A Nepal Airlines De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 (9N ABM) ran off the runway during takeoff[13]
  • 24 August 2010 – Agni Air Flight 101, a Dornier Do 228 aircraft (9N-AHE), crashed into hills outside Kathmandu in heavy rain.[14] All on board (3 crew, 11 passengers) were killed.[15] 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.[citation needed]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • 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.[16]
  • 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.[17] The aircraft skidded into soft grass causing the nose wheel to collapse and the airport to temporarily close to all international flights.[18] All 227 passengers and 11 crew members evacuated the aircraft safely.[19]

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 October 2006).
  4. ^ a b c d Administrator. "Chronology". Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Austrian bids farewell to the 737", Airliner World, June 2013: p6
  6. ^ Medyasoft (c) 2012. "International Flight Destinations & Special Offers – Turkish Airlines". Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Kathmandu – Tribhuvan Airport (KTM/VNKT)". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Harro Ranter (10 May 1973). "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-8-33 HS-TGU Kathmandu-Tribhuvan Airport (KTM)". Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  10. ^ Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 18 November 2006.
  11. ^ Harro Ranter (7 July 1999). "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 727-243F VT-LCI Kathmandu". Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  12. ^ Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 18 November 2006.
  13. ^ The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
  14. ^ "Nepal tourist plane crash kills 14". BBC News. 24 August 2010. 
  15. ^ "All 14 killed in Nepal plane crash". The Times of India. 24 August 2010. 
  16. ^ Sanjaya Dhakal BBC Nepali (28 September 2012). "BBC News – Nepal plane crash kills 19 at Kathmandu". Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  17. ^ Saul, Heather (4 March 2015). "Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway in dense fog". The Independent. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  18. ^ "TIA to remain closed until 10 am Friday". 5 March 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  19. ^ Pokharel, Krishna (4 March 2015). "Turkish Airlines Jet Veers Off Runway in Nepal". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 

External links[edit]