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Lhasa Gonggar International Airport

Lhasa Gonggar International Airport - Facts, Flights, Transfer and Tips

Lhasa Gongga Airport

Airport Brief Facts

To many international tourists, travelling to Tibet by flight has been one of the popular means, next to Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Overall, there are five airports scattered in 5 of the 7 prefectures of Tibet, i.e. Lhasa Gonggar Airport (3600m), Nyingchi Mainling Airport (2949m), Chamdo Bangda Airport (4334m), and Shigatse Peach Airport(3782m) and Ngari Gunsa Airport (4274m). Normally, tourists will enter Tibet via Lhasa Gonggar Airport and Nyingchi Mainling Airport.



Chinese Name: 拉萨贡嘎国际机场

Address: Gyazuling Town, Gonggar County, Shannan Prefecture, Tibet, about 60km from Lhasa downtown Major Connected Cities: Beijing, Chengdu, Xian, Kunming, Shanghai, Chongqing, Kathmandu


About Lhasa Gonggar International Airport

Brief History

During the World War II, the USA Airforce had tried many times to open up a new airline to fly over Tibet Plateau, but all failed. Later, the Republic of China also had carried out a plan with purpose to launch a brand new air route to connect Lhasa with Kangding in Sichuan Province. The plan wasn’t implemented because of extreme air condition and high elevations of Tibet Plateau. All these failed trials made Tibet a “Forbidden Air Zone”.

In 1956, Damxung County, about 103mi (166km) from Lhasa City, was chosen as the base to construct the first airport in Tibet because of its location at the plain grassland. On May 29, 1956, a Convair CV-240-401 departed from Guanghan Airport in Sichuan Province, and made successful landing on the runway of Damxung Airport, and broke the jinx of the “Forbidden Air Zone”.

As the deployment of both aerotechnics, the capital city Lhasa was expected to establish a larger and new airport. Thun the Gonggar International Airport was constructed in 1965. Later, the first civil air route was launched: Beijing – Chengdu – Lhasa. After decades’ expansion of facilities, Lhasa Gonggar International Airport has become the most important flight hub in the Tibetan plateau connecting many airports in China and Kathmandu Airport.

Flying through the challenging Tibet Plateau and then landing at an airport at the high altitude of 3,700 meters (12,100 ft) seems to be a little bit adventurous. But don’t worry, all the pilots are well trained to be qualified to fly the planes professionally and safely.

Terminal Facilities

Lhasa Gonggar International Airport covers a total area around 25,000 square meters (around 6.2 acres) with a 4000 meters long, 45 meters wide runway. Passenger handling facilities such as the hall for seeing off passengers, ticketing office, and baggage collection beltways are on the 1st floor of the new terminal building, while the departure lounge is on the 2nd floor, as well as restaurants and shopping malls.

Lhasa Gonggar Airport is undoubtedly the major air hub for entry and exit of Tibet, both domestically and internationally. The majority of the tourists will first land in Lhasa Gonggar Airport and then use shuttle bus or taxi to head to Lhasa City.

International Flights to Lhasa

So far, there is only one international air line connecting Lhasa: Kathmandu – Lhasa. Geographically speaking, Lhasa is only about 375 miles (603.5 km)’s flying from Kathmandu. It costs only about 1.5 hours to get to Lhasa from Kathmandu. The Kathmandu Lhasa Air Route is also considered as one of the most beautiful air routes in the world because it flies over many famous peaks over 8000 meters on the Himalaya Range, such as Mount Everest (8,848m), Kanchenjunga (8,536m), Lhotse (8,516m) and other Himalayan peaks.

During summer days, there are daily direct flights operated, sometimes two flights and sometimes just one flight. Only Air China and Sichuan Airlines are operating the Kathmandu - Lhasa flights. In the low seasons, there might be less or no daily flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa. To take a flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa, one will need to have three necessary documents – Tibet Group Visa, Tibet Travel Permit and Tibet Border Pass.

Kathmandu - Lhasa Flights Schedule and Fares

Flight No. Departure -- Arrival Duration Frequency Plane Ticket
Tribhuvan Airport

Gonggar Airport
1h 25m SM-W-F- Airbus A319
5230 ¥
Economy Class
Tribhuvan Airport

Gonggar Airport
1h 35m --T-T-S Airbus A319
4410 ¥
Economy Class

Useful Notes on Tibet Flight Travel

1. How to book flight ticket?

The flight ticket can be booked at online websites, such as Booking.com, Expedia, Ctrip, Qunar, etc. You can also buy the ticket from the airports in China or flight resellers. You are also welcomed to let us book your flight. We are always keeping up with the latest flight news and usually can book the ticket at a cheaper price. During summer and autumn, it is usuall difficult to book the flights to Lhasa. While using our booking service, we will not only book the ticket, but also arrange a valuable tour package.

2. Apart from Chengdu, where can I flee?

Apart from Chengdu, you can fly to Beijing, Xian, Chongqing, Kunming, Shanghai, Shangri-la etc.

3. International flights from Tibet

So far, there is only one international air line connecting Lhasa: Lhasa - Kathmandu. During summer days, there are daily direct flights operated, sometimes two flights and sometimes just one flight. Only Air China and Sichuan Airlines are operating the Lhasa - Kathmandu flights. To take a flight from Lhasa to Kathmandu.

4. What else airport, apart Lhasa Gonggar International Airport?

Tibet has five airports in total. Besides Lhasa Gonggar Airport, you can also take a flight to Shigatse, Nyingchi, Ngari and Qamdo. But only certain cities in China operate flights to these smaller cities.

- Shigatse - there is daily flight flying between Chengdu and Shigatse each day. The airport name is Shigatse Peace Airport, which is about 46km from Shigatse city.

- Nyingchi - Chengdu usually offers 4 morning flights to Nyingchi Milin Airport. While its neighboring city Chongqing also has 3 morning flights to Nyingchi each day. If you travel from Nyingchi to Lhasa, you are recommended to take a flight to Nyingchi firstly from Chengdu or Chongqing. It is also available to fly out Tibet directly from Nyingchi.

- Qamdo - Both Chongqing and Chengdu operate a daily flight to Qamdo in Tibet. But there are few travelers have chosen this line because Qamdo is not a popular tourist destination in Tibet.

- Ngari - Urumqi (capital of Xinjiang) offers a daily direct flight to Ngari with a stop at Kashgar on every Tuesday and Friday. Taking this flight, passengers need Military Permit and Border Pass as well as Tibet Travel Permit.

5. The regulation on the luggage allowance on the plane

Luggage Type First Class Business Class Economy Class Allowed Baggage Size
Allowed Carry-on Baggage 5kg * 2 pieces 5kg 5kg 55cm/20cm/40cm(L/B/H)
Allowed Checked-in Baggage 40kg 30kg 20kg 100cm/60cm/40cm(L/B/H)

6. Will my kids get a discounted flight ticket?

Kids aging 2 to 12 years old (including 12) will get a discount of 50% of the full price of the flight fare. If an adult take a flight to Lhasa from Chengdu with a child aging at 10 and the full price for the economy class is 1850 CNY, the ticket fare for the child is 940 CNY. The child also doesn’t have to pay for Airport Construction Fee while the adult has to. Infant under 2 years old only has to pay 10% of the full price, but the separate seat is not provided.

7. How do I collect (receive) the flight ticket?

Since most flight tickets are booked online, so firstly you will receive an e-ticket. You will change a paper ticket when you checking in your flight at a counter in the airport.