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Relief Flies to Nepal after Major Earthquake

Relief Flies to Nepal after Major Earthquake

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In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Nepal, relief workers and aid have been flying to Kathmandu Airport as fast as possible to assist with the recovery effort. The situation at Kathmandu Airport has presented a number of challenges to the massive and urgent relief effort underway, but those involved—pilots, air traffic controllers, and ground personnel—have been adapting to move relief supplies in and people out.

Efforts have been hampered by the small size of Kathmandu’s airport and aftershocks, which have halted operations multiple times. With only a single runway and limited availability of space on the ground for large aircraft, many flights have been left to circle for hours while material is offloaded at the airport. Despite those challenges, relief supplies and personnel have begun to arrive.

Kathmandu has only eight spaces for large aircraft, so certain airlines, including Qatar Airways and Etihad, have sent larger than normal aircraft to accommodate more passengers and supplies with fewer flights. Specialized aid has also been flown in on a number of different aircraft:

—Air China A330 carrying the China International Search and Rescue Team
—El Al 747 with medical personnel and supplies
—Norwegian 737 carrying the Norwegian Search and Rescue Team
—LOT 787 carrying Polish firefighters
—United Nations 767 with relief supplies
—Kalitta 747 with a Canadian Red Cross field hospital
—Swiss Air Ambulance CL604 carrying medical personnel
—Airbus Group A350 carrying medics and relief supplies

The Indian government has also operated a number of relief flights, including C-17 and IL-76 transport planes.


Commercial flights resumed not long after the earthquake with China Southern Airlines flight 3067 landing late Saturday afternoon. That same plane (B-6209) acted as a shuttle through Monday, making three round trips between Kathmandu and Guangzhou. Through mid-day Monday, Kathmandu received 75 commercial flights, not including special relief flights.

Kathmandu Commercial Landings Post-Earthquake through Mid-day 27 April

AirlineNumber of Flights
Air India8
China Southern7
Air China6
Qatar Airways6
Air Arabia5
Druk Air4
IndiGo4
Oman Air4
Spice Jet4
Sichuan Airlines3
Jet Airways3
Malaysian Airlines3
Etihad2
Fly Dubai2
Dragon Air2
Qatar Cargo2
Silk Air2
Thai Airways2
Turkish Airlines2
Air Asia2
Korean Airlines1
Malindo Air1

Delays and Diversions

Flights landing during the day have waited the longest to land, including China Southern flight 306S that held south of Kathmandu for two and half hours. A number of flights diverted to alternate airports, refueled, and attempted again to reach Kathmandu due to extensive delays.

Relief flights continue to arrive in Kathmandu 24 hours a day. You can track flights in and out of Kathmandu Airport here.

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