Mt Everest Flights – Back in Action
Himalayan sightseeing flights along and above the world’s highest peaks will resume this week after a nine-month COVID-19 induced layoff.
Taking off from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, this most dramatic and popular of pleasure flights will offer locals and foreign tourists the opportunity to enjoy an hour’s magic carpet ride like no other. Both Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines have announced once a week flights, increasing with demand as they go forward.
Although this is a classic once in a lifetime experience, with the current climate crisis and CO2 emissions debate there are many who might question the wisdom of allowing these flights to recommence. The reward of seeing Mt Everest and the monumental swath of dramatic peaks unfold before you somewhat seem to nullify the concept of flying for flying sake, but this most remarkable of journeys should still be carefully considered.
Ultimately, we at Nomadic Thoughts, believe that embracing a flight such as this is the individual’s decision, and therefore encouraging potential passengers to both consider an appropriate carbon-offset scheme, as well as research the local airlines’ corporate social footprint (Buddha Air) and carbon neutrality (Yeti Airlines) programmes.
In my case, as with my blogs on my previous trips to the Everest Base Camp (north face, Tibet) and wider Nepal trekking, I have always been enthralled by the region. Twelve months ago, whilst visiting the country boasting eight of the ten highest mountains in the world, I was lucky to embark on two flights over the panoramic eastern Himalayan mountain range. Choosing to off-set the flights with a direct donation to a local disabled children’s school.
My first flight was between Paro (Bhutan) and Kathmandu (Nepal). The second when embarking on a local Everest Mountain Sightseeing trip. The photos in this blog offer glimpses of these experiences.
The difference between the two flight being that the initial flight from Bhutan presents high altitude views over the Himalayas linking Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet. The Mt Everest sightseeing flight operates at a lower parallel-to-peaks altitude, with direct summit high views across the ridges and precipices that make up high-altitude climbing death zones.
The early sunrise departure allows for the clearest views, with sprawling Kathmandu soon giving way to a kaleidoscope of glittering mountain vistas. The flight last about an hour, guarantees a window seat and often includes an additional brief front-of-plane cockpit view of Mt Everest.
No doubt, the experience of flying over this ‘roof of the world’ will remain a life-long travel memory of mine.