Domestic airline companies are operating flights to Lukla from Manthali Airport because of Tribhuwan International airport is shut for runway repairing. Manthali to Lukla flight takes 20 to 22 minutes whereas from Kathmandu takes 30 to 35 minutes.
There are many public buses and jeeps are available to reach Manthali from Kathmandu. Manthali airport ground is made blacktop a few months ago. The airport was made for Kathmandu-Manthali flight but now flights are operating to Lukla. Previously airport was not in use because of road access between Kathmandu and Manthali.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) had announced the closure of TIA from April 1 for almost three months in between 10pm and 8am targeting the runway rehabilitation works.
Lukla is a major destination for domestic airline companies and it is best to operate flights to the destination in the morning time from the weather perspective. Nepalese Trekking companies are assisting tourist for Lukla flights from Manthali Airport.
Lukla is a major tourist destination, especially among foreigners in Nepal. As per TIA, domestic airline companies have been conducting almost 50 flights to Lukla every day during the tourist season while around 20 flights are conducted to the destination during normal times. Now Manthali airport is busy due to mountaineering and trekking season.
The Nepal government moved to upgrade the sole runway at TIA as it started developing frequent cracks and potholes, affecting many incoming and outbound flights along with other security issues.