Lukla Airport, the gateway to Everest, lies in the mountainous region of Nepal at an altitude of 2845m/9334ft. above sea level. Officially, Lukla Airport was given the name Tenzing–Hillary Airport in 2008 A.D after the name of the first man to conquer the extremities of the Everest.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) code for the Lukla airport is LUA whereas the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) code is VNLK. Edmund Hillary built the airport in 1964 A.D. He encouraged local sherpas stroll up and down the airfield to flatten it rewarding them with local beer. Situated at the distance of 136.17km/84.61 miles from the capital city of Kathmandu, it is the busiest domestic airport with 50 flights per day on a busy day. There is a helipad located at a distance of 150m below the air traffic control tower. The airplanes use Runway 06 for takeoffs and Runway 24 for landings. Only small planes certified for short takeoffs and landings (STOL) can land on Lukla.
Lukla has almost all the things that could make an airport dangerous to land for aircrafts. 33 people were killed between the year 2008 and 2013 in a tragic aircraft crash in Lukla. It is rated as the most dangerous airport in a documentary broadcasted by History channel. Lukla is one of the airports situated at higher altitude where air density is low. So, the aircraft can’t produce required lift which is a critical aspect during the takeoff and landings.
The Lukla Airport doesn’t have a radar, control tower or navigation. Expect for Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS), aircraft aren’t provided with other landing aids despite the risks pilots have to take while landing on this airport. The navigation is done visually and only the most experienced pilots are given permission to land here. Due to poor visibility and foggy conditions during the afternoon and evening, most of the landings are done during the morning hour.