Nepal - 2.2 Aviation

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) was established as an autonomous regulatory body on 31 December 1998 under Civil Aviation Act, 1996. The mission of CAAN is to ensure safe, secure, efficient, standard, and quality service in Civil Aviation and Airport Operations. It has dual functions: Regulator of civil aviation as well as a service provider in the areas of Air Navigation Service and Aerodrome Operations. 

There are 9 fixed-wing domestic and 12 helicopter operators currently active in Nepal. Most fixed-wing carriers are based in Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and provide scheduled flights to different urban areas of the country. Some of the carriers have established their bases in Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi, and Surkhet and provide scheduled flight services to remote locations in Karnali and Sudurpaschim provinces. Airstrips in remote locations are STOL airports and are not well equipped with modern navigating instruments. Among the STOL airstrips, the Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla and Jomsom Airport in Mustang are considered commercially lucrative. 

For international travel, currently, 30 airlines including two Nepal-based airlines provide services to different destinations around the globe. Nepal has signed Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) and MoU with 40 different countries, and it has direct air connectivity with 18 countries including India, China, Japan, Qatar, and UAE. 

The European Union has blacklisted Nepali airlines since 2013 based on serious security concerns raised by ICAO and are restricted from flying in EU member nations’ airspace. 

Both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters can be chartered either for emergency services, cargo services, or for recreational activities. The carrier or their representative must submit a request form to CAAN in the prescribed format for requesting a charter flight. The procedure manual and required forms can be found in this link


A total of 31 airports are currently operational in Nepal including three international airports. Tribhuvan International Airport, Gautam Buddha International Airport, and Pokhara International Airport are the only international aerodrome in the country. Biratnagar, Pokhara, Dhangadhi, and Nepalgunj airports, are the busiest airports and are considered domestic hub airports. 21 Airports are short take-off and landing (STOL) airports with Aerodrome Flight Information service (AFIS).  22 Airports mentioned below are STOL airports but are not in operation as of 2022.  

Airports Not in Operation 

  1. Baglung Airport 

  1. Rukum Chaurjahari Airport 

  1. Darchula Airport 

  1. Dhorpatan Airport 

  1. Lamidanda Airport 

  1. Gorkha Airport 

  1. Rumjatar Airport 

  1. Jiri Airport 

  1. Kangeldanda Airport 

  1. Khiji Chandeshwori Airport 

  1. Langtang Airport 

  1. Mahendranagar Airport 

  1. Manang Airport 

  1. Dolpa Masinechaur Airport 

  1. Meghauli Airport 

  1. Rolpa Airport 

  1. Syangboche Airport 

  1. Tikapur Airport 

  1. Manamaya Rai Khanidanda Airport 

  1. Falgunanda (Ilam) Airport 

  1. Baitadi (Patan) Airport 

  1. Doti Airport 

CAAN does not operate any heliports. In TIA, helicopter operations are authorized in designated areas. There are some areas to be used by helicopters throughout the country located on government as well as private property. CAAN, therefore, does not maintain the landing areas or provide security, Operators are, therefore, required to obtain necessary information before conducting flights in these locations. Details of such locations may be obtained from the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Directorate (CAAN H/O, Babar Mahal). Source: 

However, CAAN has been working on constructing a new heliport at Nalinchowk of Bhaktapur district in Bagmati province, the location is around 16 KM Northwest of Tribhuvan International Airport. When completed, this facility will be able to accommodate 17 helicopters at a time. (Source: CAAN to construct a modern helipad in Nalinchowk, Bhaktapur ( 





Key airport information may also be found at: CAAN_Aeronautical Information Publication Nepal Eighth Edition)  


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