Phaplu Airport is one of the iconic airstrips of Nepal located in Salleri-2, Solukhumbu and is the gateway to Everest Base Camp. The airport used to conduct minimum amount of flights (one per day) before peak season but now 10 flights movement per day can be observed.
At present, Tara Air, Summit Air and Nepal Airlines conduct their scheduled passenger flights from Kathmandu to Phaplu. Phaplu Airport is also known for conducting cargo flights as the fixed wing as well as heli-operators conduct cargo flights from Phaplu to Lukla. It normally takes 7 minutes for a fixed wing aircraft to reach Lukla whereas helicopter takes 10 minutes.
The peak travel season and increasing flow of passengers have made the airport busy to some extent.
Phaplu Airport features vibrant terrains, constantly changing weather and aggressive wind factor jointly inviting harsh circumstances for flight operations. The airport completes majority of flights by early morning due to the wind behaving vigorous at day time. The weather instrument at the airport’s ATC (Air Traffic Controller) tower has recorded a maximum of 43 knots of gusting wind while the safe airspeed for aircraft in this airport is 10 to 12 knots. Especially, the airport encounters headwind.
The airport has become beneficial for the town and its local residents and also to the tourists especially arriving Phaplu for Everest Base Camp trek. Besides, Salleri (headquarter of Solukhumbu District) is blissful to have a fully operating airport in its vicinity.
The majority of airports around the country have been experiencing busy schedules due to the peak season. The airspace of Kathmandu is vibrantly congested by the maximum frequency of flight movements from domestic as well as international airline operators. Airport officials, ATC officers, airline operators, flight crews and passengers are having harsh time due to unacceptable flight delays.