Tribhuvan International Airport

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Tribhuvan International Airport

त्रिभुवन अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय विमानस्थल
TIA Logo.jpg
2009-03 Kathmandu 10.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerGovernment Of Nepal
OperatorCivil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN)
ServesKathmandu, Nepal
Hub for
Elevation AMSL4,390 ft / 1,338 m
Coordinates27°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 Asphalt
Statistics (2018[1])
Passengers7.19 million
Passenger change 2017-18Increase 13.4 %
Aircraft movements129,513
Movements change 2017-18Increase 2.4%
Sources: CAAN[2] and DAFIF[3][4]

Tribhuvan International Airport (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.

It is the sole international airport in Nepal. Having one domestic and one international terminal, the airport serves as a hub for several Nepalese airlines and over 30 international airlines connect Nepal to destinations in Asia and the Middle East.

Due to severe traffic congestion and the airport running out of its maximum capacity, the government of Nepal decided to construct more international airports, notably, 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 oriented 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 operated by the Government of Nepal, where international state guests are welcomed. There are plans to construct a separate terminal for helicopter transportation.[9]

Radisson Hotel Kathmandu operates an executive lounge for first and business class passengers for some airlines[10] and Thai Airways operates a lounge for its business-class passengers, as well as Star Alliance Gold card holders.[11]

Aircraft maintenance[edit]

Nepal Airlines operates a large hangar. There are plans to upgrade this facility.[12] Buddha Air operates a closed door hangar facility, which can accommodate narrow-body aircraft at the Eastern side of the airport.[13]

Location and access[edit]

Tribhuvan International Airport is located 1 km (0.6 mi) from Pashupatinath Temple, 6 km (3.7 mi) east of city center and main tourists area Thamel.[14] The airport is connected to Kathmandu by city bus Sajha Yatayat, local buses from the airport, and taxis. The nearest hotel is Airport Hotel located 200 m (0.1 mi) from the airport gate.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Air ArabiaSharjah
Air ChinaChengdu, Lhasa
Air IndiaDelhi, Kolkata
Bhutan AirlinesDelhi, Paro
Biman Bangladesh AirlinesDhaka
Buddha AirBhadrapur, Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Birendranagar, Dhangadhi, Guwahati, Janakpur, Kolkata, Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Simara, Tumlingtar, Varanasi
Charter: Paro
Cathay DragonHong Kong
China Eastern AirlinesKunming
China Southern AirlinesGuangzhou
Druk AirDelhi, Paro
Etihad AirwaysAbu Dhabi
Himalaya AirlinesAbu Dhabi, Beijing–Daxing[15], Changsha (begins 13 November 2019)[16], Chongqing, Dammam, Dhaka, Doha, Dubai (resumes 13 November 2019) [16], Kuala Lumpur-International, Nanchang (begins 14 November 2019)[16]
Jazeera AirwaysKuwait City (begins 17 November 2019)[17]
Korean AirSeoul-Incheon
Malaysia AirlinesKuala Lumpur–International
Malindo AirKuala Lumpur–International
Nepal AirlinesBaglung, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Bengaluru, Bhadrapur, Bhairahawa, Bhojpur, Biratnagar, Birendranagar, Chaurjahari, Delhi, Dhangadhi, Doha, Dubai, Hong Kong, Khotehang, Kuala Lumpur–International, Lukla, Meghauli, Mumbai, Musikot, Osaka–Kansai, Phaplu, Pokhara, Rumjatar, Simara, Taplejung, Tulsipur, Tumlingtar
Charter: Tokyo–Narita[18]
Oman AirMuscat
Qatar AirwaysDoha
Saurya AirlinesBhairahawa, Bhadrapur, Biratnagar, Dhangadhi, Nepalgunj
Shree AirlinesBhairahawa, Bhadrapur, Biratnagar, Dhangadhi, Nepalgunj, Rajbiraj[22][23][24]
Sichuan AirlinesChengdu
Silk AirSingapore
Simrik AirlinesBhairahawa, Bharatpur, Pokhara[25]
Sita AirLukla (suspended),[26] Nepalgunj, Pokhara
Charter: Phaplu, Ramechhap, Tumlingtar
Summit AirLukla (suspended),[26] Phaplu, Taplejung, Tumlingtar[28]
Tara AirBhojpur, Khanidanda, Lamidanda, Lukla (suspended),[26] Nepalgunj, Phaplu
Charter: Ramechhap, Taplejung
Thai AirwaysBangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Thai Lion AirBangkok–Don Mueang
Tibet AirlinesLhasa, Xi'an
Turkish Airlines Istanbul
Yeti AirlinesBhadrapur, Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Janakpur, Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Tumlingtar[30]


Uni-Top AirlinesKunming[citation needed]

The helicopter operators Air Dynasty, Manang Air, Prabhu helicopter, Simrik Air, Shree Airlines and Summit Helicopters offer helicopter operations out of their respective hubs at 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][31][32]


Operations building
Aerial view
Evening view of the airport, from the boarding area
The Government of Nepal's VIP-Terminal, where international state guests are being welcomed
Passengers (Domestic and International)[33][34][35][1]
2000 1,914,349
2001 Decrease 1,849,766
2002 Decrease 1,600,309
2003 Increase 1,748,082
2004 Increase 2,016,850
2005 Increase 2,362,885
2006 Decrease 2,265,758
2007 Increase 2,543,482
2008 Increase 2,867,216
2009 Increase 3,405,015
2010 Increase 3,991,259
2011 Increase 4,508,962
2012 Decrease 4,500,176
2013 Increase 4,682,906
2014 Increase 4,962,205
2015 Decrease 4,581,210
2016 Increase 5,268,338
2017 Increase 6,339,235
2018 Increase 7,190,238

Airline Market Share[edit]

Top international airlines serving KTM (2018)[36]
Rank Carrier Number of passengers Change from previous year
1 Nepal Nepal Airlines 491,979 Increase 26.69%
2 India Jet Airways 450,949 Decrease 3.91%
3 Qatar Qatar Airways 399,336 Increase 29.68%
4 United Arab Emirates Flydubai 337,464 Increase 15.14%
5 India Air India 237,441 Increase 13.95%
Top domestic airlines serving KTM (2018)[37]
Rank Carrier Number of passengers Passenger share
1 Buddha Air 1,325,409 46.5%
2 Yeti Airlines 668,664 23.5%
3 Shree Airlines 447,877 15.7%

Ground transportation[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • 10 May 1973 – A Thai Airways Douglas DC-8 overran the runway on landing with 100 of passengers and 10 crew on board, there was one fatality.[38]
  • 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.[39]
  • 28 September 1992 – An Airbus A300 B4-203 operating as PIA Flight 268 crashed while approaching Kathmandu, killing all 167 on board,[40] making it the worst air accident in Nepal.
  • 17 January 1995 – Royal Nepal Airlines De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300, 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.[41]
  • 7 July 1999 – A Boeing 727-200F of Lufthansa Cargo crashed in the Champadevi hills at the 7550 feet level, five minutes after takeoff, when it should have been at an altitude of 9500 feet. All five crew members on board were killed.[42]
  • 5 September 1999 – A BAe 748-501 Super 2B operating as Necon Air Flight 128 from Pokhara to Kathmandu, 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.[43]
  • 26 December 1999 – A Airbus A300B2-101 operating as 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.[44]
  • 24 December 2008 – A Nepal Airlines De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 (9N ABM) ran off the runway during takeoff[45]
  • 24 August 2010 – A Dornier Do 228 operating as Agni Air Flight 101 crashed into hills outside Kathmandu in heavy rain.[46] All on board (3 crew, 11 passengers) were killed.[47] 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.
  • 25 September 2011 – A Beechcraft 1900D operating as Buddha Air Flight 103, struck terrain while approaching 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 – A Dornier Do 228 operating as Sita Air Flight 601, 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 – A Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 operating as US-Bangla Airlines Flight 211, 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 meters) 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]
  • 1 September 2018 – A Yeti Airlines BAe Jetstream 41 (9N-AHW) en route from Nepalgunj Airport skidded off the runway, seconds after touching down. All 21 passengers and the crew of 3, evacuated the aircraft safely without injuries but the aircraft was written off. Slippery runway due to rainfall was reported to be the cause of the incident.[55]
  • 12 July 2019 – Yeti Airlines flight NYT-422: An ATR 72-500 registration 9N-AMM coming from Nepalgunj skidded off the runway just as it landed at Tribhuvan International Airport. There were 68 people onboard including 4 crew members, all of them evacuated the aircraft safely but two of the passengers received minor injuries.[56]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Civil Aviation Report Annual 2018" (PDF). Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  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. ^ a b c d 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. ^ "Separate helicopter terminal to be built at TIA". Aviation Nepal. 20 December 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Airport Restaurant and Executive Lounge" (PDF). Radisson. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Royal Orchid Lounge". Thai Airways. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  12. ^ "India to help Nepal build new hangars at the Kathmandu airport". The Economic Times. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  13. ^ "Hangar Profile" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 January 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Tribhuvan International Airport". Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Himalaya Airlines plans Beijing Daxing launch in late October 2019". Routes Online. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  16. ^ a b c "Himalaya Airlines Winter 2019 network additions". Routes Online. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  17. ^ "Jazeera Airways adds new destinations in Nov 2019". Routes Online. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  18. ^ "NAC operates chartered flight to Tokyo". República. 26 September 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  19. ^ "DOMESTIC SUMMER SCHEDULE". Nepal Airlines. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  20. ^ "International Flight Schedule". Nepal Airlines. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  21. ^ "Revised International Schedule wef 01 April till 30 June 2019". Nepal Airlines. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Rajbiraj Airport to resume its flight services from May 8 as Shree Airline prepares for flight operation". Aviation Nepal. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  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. ^ a b "Flight Schedule". Simrik Airlines. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  26. ^ a b c "Domestic airline companies issue travel alert for passengers". The Himalayan Times. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  27. ^ "Flight Schedule". Sita Air. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  28. ^ "Flight Schedule". Summit Air. Archived from the original on 8 July 2017. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  29. ^ "Flight Schedule". Tara Air. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  30. ^ "Scheduled Flights". Yeti Airlines Pvt. Ltd. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  31. ^ "Everest Experience". Buddha Air. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  32. ^ "Amazing Everest Experience". Yeti Airlines. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  33. ^ "Civil Aviation Report 2009-2010" (PDF). Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  34. ^ "Civil Aviation Report 2011-2012" (PDF). Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  35. ^ "Civil Aviation Report 2017" (PDF). Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 June 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  36. ^ "Tribhuvan International Airport posts 12 percent passenger growth in 2018". The Kathmandu Post. 24 February 2019. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  37. ^ "Buddha air tops domestic flights count". Aviation Nepal. 26 February 2019. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  38. ^ Harro Ranter (10 May 1973). "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-8-33 HS-TGU Kathmandu-Tribhuvan Airport (KTM)". Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  39. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  40. ^ "Hunt goes on for black box in Airbus wreckage". The Independent. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  41. ^ Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 18 November 2006.
  42. ^ Harro Ranter (7 July 1999). "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 727-243F VT-LCI Kathmandu". Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  43. ^ Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 18 November 2006.
  44. ^ "Terror on Indian Airlines Flight 814". The Herald. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  45. ^ The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
  46. ^ "Nepal tourist plane crash kills 14". BBC News. 24 August 2010.
  47. ^ "All 14 killed in Nepal plane crash". The Times of India. 24 August 2010. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010.
  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 15 May 2018.
  55. ^ "Yeti Airlines Jetstream 41 encounters runway excursion at TIA, all passengers safe". Aviation Nepal. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  56. ^ "Yeti Airlines aircraft skids off runway". The Himalayan Times. Retrieved 12 July 2019.

External links[edit]

Media related to Tribhuvan International Airport at Wikimedia Commons