ICO News

Why planes in Nepal crash so often, as dated planes, poor safety … – iNews

A fatal plane crash in Nepal killed at least 68 people on Sunday, with more casualties expected to be confirmed.

The domestic flight was on the way to a new airport in Pokhara, a popular tourist destination, from the capital Kathmandu when the incident happened.

The Yeti Airlines crash on Sunday brings the total number of people killed in air crashes in Nepal since 2000 to 341, across 18 separate incidents.

From fast-changing weather conditions to runways situated in the mountains, there are several reasons why Nepal is the site of so many deadly plane crashes.

Here, i looks at why so many aviation accidents happen in Nepal.

Remote runways

Airport runways in Nepal, such as the one located in Lukla, are among the most remote and difficult to land on in the world. They pose significant challenges for even the most proficient pilots and well-maintained aircraft.

Tenzin-Hillary Airport in Lukla, a popular starting point for people travelling to Mount Everest, has been described as one of the world’s most dangerous airports. It is surrounded by mountainous terrain, located at high altitude and has a very short runway – measuring around 527 metres compared to Heathrow’s southern runway which is 3,658 metres.

Because of the mountainous environment that surrounds the airport, pilots have little to no room for error, as once they approach the runway they have no choice but to follow through with landing.

Weather conditions

The mountainous regions where Nepalese airports are located mean planes have to land at high altitude. The low air density decreases the performance of an aircraft and makes it more difficult to slow down.

Sudden changes in weather, visibility and pressure are commonplace and many older aeroplanes are not equipped with the technology to detect the unpredictable conditions.

The Foreign Office advises Britons travelling to and throughout Nepal to check weather conditions before travelling.

“Bad weather conditions in mountainous and hill regions could further increase the risk to your safety and cause lengthy delays,” it says.

Poor airline safety and dated technology

As one of the poorest countries in the world, many Nepali airlines rely on an ageing airplane stock for domestic flights, many of which are not equipped with modern weather radars or GPS technology that can help mitigate problems with visibility or weather.

Pilot Captain Bed Upreti told The Guardian earlier this year: “We can’t afford to keep flying aircraft that are 43 years old. The technology, or lack of, is dangerous to be flying in a place like Nepal.”

More on Nepal

Infrastructure on the ground is also lacking. Meteorologist Dr Archana Shrestha told the outlet an investment was needed in “aviation meteorological institutional development” to help establish an “operational weather service for domestic flight routes that operate under 10,000 feet”.

Nepal’s civil aviation authority states that it is committed to developing strategies, policies and processes to ensure all aviation activities within the country are carried out to the highest level.

It also says it works to meet international standards, but several countries and tour operators have banned or stopped working with Nepalese airlines because of its poor safety record.

Since 2013, all airline carriers from Nepal have been refused permission to operate air services to the EU due to safety concerns.

Recent aviation incidents in Nepal

  • 29 May, 2022 – All 22 passengers and crew members died on a Tara Air flight from Pokhara. The De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter aircraft crashed 15 minutes after taking off in bad weather.
  • 27 February, 2019 – A helicopter crash in eastern Nepal killed all seven people on board, including the country’s tourism minister.
  • 12 March, 2018 – Fifty-one people were killed when a US-Bangla Airlines flight from Dhaka carrying 71 people crashed in Kathmandu.
  • 26 February, 2016 – Two crew members were killed when an Air Kasthamandap plane with 11 passengers on board crashed while flying between Nepalgunj and Jumla.
  • 24 February, 2016 – Two days before the Air Kasthamandap plane crash, a Tara Air flight with 20 passengers on board crashed while flying between Pokhara and Jomsom, killing 23 passengers.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.