Lukla Aiport is a STOL airport (Short Take-off and Landing). STOLports can only accept certain types of aircraft, often only smaller propeller aircraft, often with limits on the amount of fuel that can be taken.
There is no fixed departure time on these routes really – it depends on the weather. Planes fly as early as possible.
With the congestion at Kathmandu airport, flights to / from Lukla are operated from a airport close to Lukla called Ramechap or Manthali during the peak season time. So we will need to get the final confirmation from the airlines after they get the guideline of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal looking at the pressure of flights, whether we are lucky enough to fly directly from Kathmandu. If direct flights are not possible, then we will need to drive about 5-6 hours to Ramechap Airport and catch flight from there. Same will apply on return part.
If bad weather prevents your group from taking the flight to Lukla, the Winter Everest Marathon team will assist you to bring you back to the hotel in Kathmandu. It may not be the usual Event hotel – as we can’t pre-book these nights, it will be where we can find availability. Beware that this could be a lesser standard than Hotel Shanker and it could be outside of town. Everest Marathon will continue providing you and your group meals while still in Kathmandu.
Please liaise with your team leader to try to find out when your rescheduled flight will leave.
Sometimes it is possible to fly to Lukla by helicopter even when planes do not fly. If your group wants this option, THEY WILL HAVE TO PAY! This may or may not be covered by your insurance – please check with them before leaving.
It is Winter Everest Marathon policy to try for a flight for 2 days each otherwise we will have to drive to Jiri – stay overnight and fly by helicopter (Or use alternative solutions).
If you are delayed by 1 or 2 days but make it up to Lukla, you will have to adapt the itinerary. Note that you should never sacrifice days on the ascent. It may be necessary to have less time at high camps eg. Khumjung and GorakShep. Our itineraries are made in such a way that even 2/3 lost days can be covered.
We have noticed participants seem to get a bit stressed when it becomes apparent their Lukla flight may be delayed – your group leader will update you on all where communication is needed.
Winter Everest Marathon has a fail-safe of 2 days to get back to KTM from Lukla built into the schedule. If it seems that you may not be able to make it back in time to catch your international flight then you must make the following clear:
Management will do its best to come up with the best and most cost-effective solution based on groups (decisions that benefit the group as a whole).
The key thing to remember is there is always a problem of how much it costs to evacuate people and change flights – please do keep these things in mind and do not panic.
The one-way helicopter flight will cost approximately USD 500 per person if the helicopter is full. A helicopter has room for 5 people.