All but Tara Air halt flights on Ramechhap-Lukla route with mountain climbing season drawing to a close

Published On: May 20, 2024 09:20 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 20: With the mountain climbing season drawing to a close, airline companies except Tara Air have ceased the Ramechhap-Lukla flights for now. Summit Air has already stopped its Ramechhap-Lukla flights, while Tara Air plans to continue flying throughout May.

Manoj Karki, president of the Air Service Operators Association and Managing Director of Summit Air, stated that flights on this route have ceased as the climbing season has come to an end and the rainy season is approaching. 

"We had two daily flights from Lukla to Kathmandu. With the climbing season coming to an end and the rainy season about to begin, we've stopped these flights due to low demand. Now, our Kathmandu-Lukla flights will be conducted on the basis of weather conditions," he said. Summit Air currently has two of its four Let-410 series aircraft flying from Nepalgunj, one from Kathmandu, and one from Pokhara.

Similarly, Sudarshan Bartaula, chief security officer of Tara Air, said that their Ramechhap-Lukla flights, operated by two of their three Twin Otter aircraft, are adjusted according to passenger demand. 

"Passenger demand on this route is gradually decreasing. We are adapting our services accordingly," he said. "Currently, the number of passengers from Lukla is declining, but we plan to maintain flights through the month of May." 

However, all Tara Air flights on this route were affected by bad weather on Monday.

Summit Air, Tara Air, and Sita Air typically used to operate at least half a dozen daily flights on this route using single aircraft as per the weather conditions. According to Karki, only 6,500 passengers traveled on the Ramechhap-Lukla flight in April. He mentioned that the Ramechhap-Lukla flights will resume in September to meet the demands of mountain climbers.

Data from the Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla reports a total of 46,718 passengers utilized air services including helicopters and airplanes from January to April this year.

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