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10 Most Dangerous Airports in The World: Lukla in Nepal

by Emmie on 16/10/10 at 10:33 am

Many of us at some point have traveled by plane and landed quite safely at the destination airport. However, there are some extremely dangerous airports around due to situation, weather and the runway to name a few. Here is one of the 10 most dangerous airports- Lukla in Nepal.

How many of you get on a plane and wonder if you will get off it again? If you do get those anxious thoughts then they are probably just fleeting before you get on the plane and if you are going to a safe airport that worry should soon disappear. However, would you be quite so re-assured if you were going to land at one of the world’s most dangerous airports? I know i probably wouldn’t be! So here is a look at one of the most dangerous places- Lukla in Nepal.

Image by ilkerender via Flickr

Where Is Lukla Airport?

Lukla airport is in Nepal which is situated in the Himalayas. The Nepal government said in 2008 that the airport would be renamed after Sir Edmund Hillary who was the first person to reach the top of Mount Everest.

The only place that planes take off and land at to and from Lukla airport is Kathmandu. The reason for this is that the main reason people fly here is to begin their trek up Everest.

Only small aircraft and helicopters take off and land here because only they can manage the tough conditions.

Image via Wikipedia

Why Is It So Dangerous?

Because of the altitude of 9,000 ft it is very difficult for a plane to land at the speed it should do at that height. Also, due to the altitude the weather can be atrocious, and change by the minute. This makes it very unpredictable and also fog is extremely common.

As you come into land you are literally flying around mountains, so you could easily crash into the side of one if the pilot encounters fog or something.

With most airports if a pilot feels that the build up to landing is not right they can change direction and try again. With Lukla, there is no room for error. If you made a mistake and tried to go off course you are likely to find yourself in a mountain.

Landing At Lukla:

The runway at Lukla is also a through way for pedestrians who use it to get from one side of the town to the other. When the air traffic control knows that a plane is inbound, they sound a siren to inform people that a plane is on it’s way- but there is no guarantee that everyone will hear it and pay attention.

Image via Wikipedia

When you land at Lukla you go up a steep 2,000 foot runway which is fairly short. Being uphill actually helps bring the aircraft to a steady stop. At the other end of the runway is the end of a cliff which is fenced off by just wooden sticks.

Taking Off From Lukla:

Taking off from Lukla can be described as being just as scary as landing at Lukla. It is certainly one of the world’s most dangerous airports if not the most.

When you take off from Lukla you actually go from the other end which means you go downhill and hopefully by the time you reach the bit with the cliff you should be airborne. If not, it’s bad news.

Image via Wikipedia

If you do not generate enough speed you could go airborne but drop into the valleys below until you gain enough power and hopefully come back up again.


I don’t think that there is any doubt that Lukla airport in Nepal is one of the world’s most dangerous airports. In the past 7 years there has been 4 incidents at least, and due to the situation of Lukla, unfortunately most people die in the incidents.

Not every pilot is allowed to fly to and from Lukla. You have to take further training with an instructor before you are approved and as far as i know only flights from Kathmandu are allowed.

So, if you are thinking about going hiking up Everest i think it would be safer to hike from the beginning rather than risk your life at Lukla airport.

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Liked it


Oct 16th, 2010

Interesting topic.

Anuradha Ramkumar

Oct 16th, 2010

Hmmm…Lukla is definitely a very dangerous airport. I’ve heard of it.


Oct 16th, 2010

nice post

Guy Hogan

Oct 16th, 2010

I’m afraid of flying. Since fighting in Vietnam I swore I would never fly again. And I haven’t.


Oct 16th, 2010

Raj the Tora

Oct 16th, 2010

Excellent work and details shared. Thanks a lot for the share.


Oct 16th, 2010

Than 4 sharing


Oct 16th, 2010

Excellent share! :) comment my articles back


Oct 16th, 2010

Nice post.

Michal Dorcak

Oct 16th, 2010

Wow, I did not even know this place existed until now and certinly didn’t know about this airport.


Oct 16th, 2010

good post – gj


Oct 16th, 2010

Now, that’s dangerous.


Oct 16th, 2010

Very sad, I wouldn’t ever want to go there by air. Thanks for sharing.

Phoenix Montoya

Oct 17th, 2010

Good post. And thanks for the warning :)


Oct 17th, 2010

Amazing….Scary too.

Sharif Ishnin

Oct 17th, 2010

I definitely try the Lukla Airport if I have the appetite to live dangerously. Fortunately avoiding mountains and landing on short runaways are not the kind of adventures I would like to pursue right now.lol.

Sangeeta Chaudhary

Oct 17th, 2010

Very scary. Thank you for sharing.


Oct 17th, 2010

Thanks for the info

Carol M Creasey

Oct 17th, 2010

Good share!


Oct 18th, 2010

Useful. thanks for share


Oct 18th, 2010

really good share, just wondering where’s the other 9 airports.


Oct 20th, 2010

how much does it cost..? to fly from Ktm to lukla


May 3rd, 2012

really so scary


May 15th, 2012

I’m not sure how much it costs to fly from ktm to lukla but I’m sure google will have some idea….. and yes ANU it does look very scary!

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