There is no safety net at Lukla Airport. The 1500-foot runway abruptly drops off into a river valley below, and if you don’t take off successfully your plane will hurtle to a violent end thousands of feet up in the Himalayas.
Although it isn’t the highest airport in the world, it is certainly one of the most dangerous. The runway is situated 9000 feet above sea level and is flanked by the rugged Himalayas on all sides. As with Paro Airport, the geography affords no misstep in landing or takeoff.
The runway itself is at a 12% incline, which necessitates even more skill and careful planning on the part of the pilot, as do the clouds that obscure the runway on a regular basis. Fittingly, the airport is the gateway to climbing Mount Everest, allowing thrill seekers to begin their adventure the second their plane begins heading for Lukla.