Best 3 Domestic Airlines in Nepal

Best 3 Domestic Airlines in Nepal

By Carol WangUpdated Sep. 24, 2021

Nepal has a well-developed network of domestic flights. Air transport is a popular way of traveling between the country's cities. Travelers will land at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. From there, many airlines travel to Nepal's popular destinations, such as Pokhara, Bharatpur, and Lukla. Besides Kathmandu, Pokhara, Nepalgunj, and Biratnagar are air hubs in Nepal.

There are more than 10 airlines in Nepal, all of which are based in Kathmandu. There are three international airlines: Nepal Airlines, Buddha Air, and Himalaya Airlines. Himalaya Airlines focuses on international flights to most of Asia and the Middle East. Nepal Airlines and Buddha Air cover both the international and domestic sectors.

For domestic flights in Nepal, Nepal Airlines, Buddha Air, and Yeti Airlines are considered the country's top three airlines as they are reputable, offer the most flight options, and provide qualified services.

Some small operators that fly in and out include Shree Airlines, Tara Air, and Simrik Airlines. These airlines are not big companies but provide flights that are usually booked by travelers who have special interests in trekking or seeing views of the Himalayas.

In this article, you will understand how to take a flight in Nepal. We will give you general information about the airports and airlines.

Quick Facts

  • Nepal Airlines is the best option for international flights to Nepal.
  • Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines are reputable airlines offering the most options for domestic flights.
  • Sightseeing flights for the Himalayas are operated by Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines.
  • Lukla Airport is the gateway for those looking to do a Mount Everest trek. Jomsom Airport is the gateway to the Mustang trek.
  • Flight delays often occur in Nepal.
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Domestic Airports

The airports in Nepal have become some of the features that attract travelers. The airport runways were built deep in the jungles, high in the mountains, and leaning on the cliffs in the Himalayas.

This small country has one international airport and 42 domestic airports, which are distributed in each region of Nepal. All of Nepal's airports are well-equipped and have numerous facilities.

The airports on the popular travel routes are Tribhuvan International Airport, Pokhara Airport, Lukla Airport, Bharatpur Airport, Jomsom Airport, and Gautam Buddha Airport.

FlightFlying in Nepal

Tribhuvan International Airport

Tribhuvan International Airport is located in the Kathmandu Valley region. It is about 5 kilometers away from the center of Kathmandu. It has two public terminals, one for international traffic and one for domestic traffic. The domestic terminal operates flights to every domestic airport and serves all the domestic airlines that provide daily sightseeing flights to Mount Everest.

Although it is the only international airport in Nepal, it has very good facilities including free Wi-Fi, money exchange, taxis, baggage help, restaurants and cafes, and travel information.

Pokhara Airport

Pokhara Airport is located in Pokhara city. It only has one terminal, even though Pokhara is the second-largest city in Nepal. The airport is particularly small and is only big enough for eight aircraft at a time. Not many flights operate there. It just offers daily flights to Kathmandu and Jomsom.

The airlines that operate there are Yeti Airlines, Buddha Air, and Tara Air. The airport has facilities that include a coffee shop, baggage help, a departure terminal, and an arrivals terminal.

Lukla Airport

Lukla Airport is a small airport in Lukla town. When you search for Lukla on Google, it is displayed as one of the most extreme airports or the world's most dangerous airport, since it is situated at a height of 2,800 meters above sea level. The airport is the gateway for trekking tours in the Himalayas. It only operates flights to Kathmandu via Tara Air.

Jomsom Airport

Jomsom Airport is in a town close to Pokhara. It is located at a height of 2,700 meters at the head of a gorge. It is the gateway to the Mustang trekking point. The airport only serves flights back and forth from Pokhara daily via Tara Air.

Although the flights only last for 20 minutes, the airplanes fly over very high mountains with heights of up to 8,000 meters.

Bharatpur Airport

Bharatpur Airport is located 1.6 kilometers southwest of Bharatpur's city center. It is the main gateway for going to Chitwan National Park, which is about 25 kilometers away from this airport. Travelers going to Lumbini need to make a flight connection there for another 25-minute flight.

For overland travelers, Bharatpur Airport is about 120 kilometers away from the Sonauli border between Nepal and India. It has one runway and only focuses on flights to/from Kathmandu. Flights depart frequently on a daily basis between these two cities via Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines.

Gautam Buddha Airport

Gautam Buddha Airport also called Bhairahawa Airport) will open in 2020. It is closer to Chitwan, Lumbini, and Sonauli.

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1. Nepal Airlines - the Flag Carrier of Nepal with More International Flight Options

Formerly known as Royal Nepal Airlines, it is a state-owned airline in Nepal. Its main base is in Kathmandu. It is the only airline in Nepal that has an Airbus A320.

For domestic flights, it has nine fleets of DHC-6/Y-12 aircraft with the capacity for 19 passengers and Xian M60 aircraft with a capacity for 56 passengers. Nepal Airlines flies to 10 international destinations and more than 20 domestic destinations. Flights normally operate as early as 01:30 and continue until 23:00.

Nepal Airlines is renowned for its generous hospitality by attentive staff on board the flights and also receives recognition for the airline cuisine.

For international journeys, it serves meals, drinks, and cocktails, which passengers can enjoy during their flights. Some of the international flights go to Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Dubai, Guangzhou, and Tokyo.

Online booking, a check-in facility, and flight status checks are available on the airline's website at http://www.nepalairlines.com.np

You can find some of the best deals at US$800 from Guangzhou to Kathmandu.

  • Carry-on allowance: 5 kilograms
  • Luggage allowance: 25 kilograms
  • Excess luggage fee (per kilogram): US$2
  • Meal included: no
  • Seat reservation included: yes
  • Credit card fee: no
  • Departs from: Tribhuvan International Airport

2. Buddha Air - with the Best Aircraft in Nepal and Flights Between Big Cities

It is a privately-owned airline in Nepal, based in Patan. Buddha Air has 13 aircraft including some ATR 42-300 aircraft with 47 seats, ATR 72-500 aircraft with 70 seats, and Beechcraft 1900D aircraft with 19 seats.

It runs domestic flights to 12 destinations as well as two international destinations. It also operates two mountain flights to Mount Everest and Annapurna. The flights operate from 06:30 to 19:00.

It is regarded as the best airline in Nepal due to its good reputation. The service from each attendant to every passenger is always done with a smile and the seats are comfortable.

Buddha Air doesn't feature any in-flight entertainment but chocolate is given to passengers as they board. At the baggage claim area, staff members take the baggage out on a trolley for the passengers.

The airline flies to Kathmandu, Chandragadhi, Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Dhangadhi, Janakpur, Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Simara, and Tumlingtar. It crosses the borders to Paro and Varanasi.

Online booking, a check-in facility, and flight status checks are available on the airline's website at https://www.buddhaair.com/

Normally, it costs US$100 from Kathmandu to Pokhara.

  • Carry-on allowance: 5 kilograms
  • Luggage allowance: class C/D/E 10 kilograms, class A/B 15 kilograms, class Y 20 kilograms
  • Excess luggage fee (per kilogram): US$1
  • Meal included: no
  • Seat reservation included: no
  • Credit card fee: no
  • Departs from: Tribhuvan International Airport, Pokhara Airport, Bhadrapur Airport, Nepalgunj Airport, Simara Airport
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3. Yeti Airlines - the Largest Airline Going to Remote Regions

It is a private airline based in Kathmandu. Yeti Airlines is the second-largest domestic carrier in Nepal, after Buddha Air. It consists of 11 fleets of 16-seater BAe Jetstream 41 aircraft and 72-seater ATR 72-500 aircraft. Tara Air is a subsidiary of Yeti Airlines and they share the same aircraft.

Yeti Airlines runs domestic flights to eight destinations, including the remote regions of Lukla and Jomsom. Mount Everest and Annapurna sightseeing flights are also operated by Yeti Airlines. The flights operate from 06:30 to 18:30.

Yeti Airlines has the most domestic flight options in Nepal. It offers convenient schedules, the most efficient service, and is the most customer-friendly airline. It includes flights to Bhadrapur, Bhairahawa, Pokhara, Kathmandu, Lukla, and Jomsom.

Online booking, a check-in facility, and flight status checks are available on the airline's website at https://www.yetiairlines.com/

A flight from Kathmandu to Lukla costs US$178 and a flight from Pokhara to Jomsom costs US$124.

  • Carry-on allowance: 5 kilograms
  • Luggage allowance: 10 kilograms
  • Excess luggage fee (per kilogram): US$1
  • Meal included: no
  • Seat reservation included: no
  • Credit card fee: no
  • Departs from: Tribhuvan International Airport, Pokhara Airport, Bhadrapur Airport, Nepalgunj Airport, Simara Airport, Lukla Airport, Jomsom Airport

Is It Safe to Use any Nepalese Airlines?

Nepal is full of mountains so there are many small aircraft completing the routes. These are normally small propeller aircraft with 15°C30 seats. Although there are occasional accidents, the overall probability of this is extremely low. Demand for flight travel has increased. Travel by air in Nepal is timesaving, inexpensive, secure, and comfortable.

Flights can help save time , for example, a flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara only takes 30 minutes while a road transfer takes 8 hours. Flying from Simikot (northwest) to Biratnagar (southeast) can be done in 2 hours by air (with a stopover in Kathmandu).

Flights seem safer than traveling by road. Most of the country is covered by jungle and the road conditions are not always good due to them being damaged or blocked, especially in the monsoon season.

Domestic flight fares are always inexpensive and this has become an important factor in making most people want to travel by air. Another reason for taking flights is that passengers can have an amazing view over the Himalayas from the airplane.

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Insider Tips for Flying in Nepal

In Nepal, the mountain weather is unpredictable and flight delays or cancelations occur frequently. Normally, passengers will not be informed until a few minutes before departure.

  • Make your itinerary as flexible as possible. Flight delays or cancelations often happen due to the poor visibility.
  • Don't be surprised if you are not taken to your intended destination because of fog.
  • It is not advised to make a domestic flight that connects to an international flight in one day.

Explore Nepal with Us

The airlines for domestic flights offer the same prices and standards of service. You can book your flight online via the airline's website or have it included in your organized tour with Asia Highlights. We will provide you with airport transfers and your personal tour guide will always be at your service.

Why Travel with Asia Highlights

  • Tailor-made experience: All of your ideas/needs will be carefully considered to create your ideal trip.
  • Worry-free planning: Every step of your trip, you will be looked after by your 1:1 travel consultant based in Asia.
  • No-risk booking: We refund as much as we can and adapt flexibly to unexpected changes.

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