The one and only international airport of Nepal till date.
The only international airport in Nepal, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) is about 5 kilometers from the center of Kathmandu. The airport was previously known as Gauchaur airport and renamed by King Mahendra in 1955 as Tribhuvan International Airport in memory to his father.
The airport has been in operation since 1949. The airport has both domestic and international terminals and is the hub for domestic flights throughout the country. As the sole international airport at present, it connects Nepal to over 40 destinations in 17 countries and over 30 international airlines touching down here.
In the early days, the airport had a grass runway until a concrete runway was made in 1957 and that was extended several times as it grew. The old name of the airport Gauchaur refers to a place where cows graze.
The formal beginning of aviation in Nepal occurred in 1949, with the landing of a Beechcraft Bonanza carrying the Indian ambassador. The first charter flight took place between Gauchaur and Calcutta, in a Himalayan Aviation Dakota on 20 February 1950. The first scheduled domestic flight commenced to Bhairahawa, Biratnagar, Pokhara, and Simara.
Nepal Airlines the national flag carrier operates a large hangar the international and domestic terminals. The airport has two public terminals, one for international and one for domestic traffic. A terminal for VIP guests is also operated by the Government of Nepal, where international state guests are welcomed. Plans to construct a separate terminal for helicopters is also a priority of the airport.
The international apron at TIA can handle up to 15 aircraft, although only three can support wide-body category aircraft. There is also a bay on the eastern side of the airport that can hold two wide-bodies and two ATR 72 or similar types of aircraft.
It is considered as a starting point for Mount Everest, with several daily flights to Lukla. Several airlines also offer Everest Mountain flights and sightseeing flights out of Kathmandu.
Complied by Rina Kumari Mandal a content writer at Nepaltraveller.