Jomsom Airfield, Nepal (2001)

last update 29. April 2012

written 21. April 2021


....

 

“Surrounded by mighty 8000"

(Jomsom - Gateway for numerous trekking tours)

Text:

Guido E. Bühlmann,  Andy Herzog

Pictures:

Guido E. Bühlmann

Google Maps Position

No less dangerous than Lukla, Jomsom Airport is situated in the upper part of the Kali Gandaki valley in the district of Mustang (Nepal), surrounded by the mighty  mountains of Himalaya. Jomsom Airport is another gateway for numerous expeditions of extreme climbers from around the world.
Our chief photographer, world traveler and aviation expert, Guido E. Buehlmann visited Jomsom-Airport in November 2001 and allows us a glimpse into the breathtaking mountain scenery and outlandish aviation in this region of the world.
In the third and fourth part of our Nepal trip, Guido E. Bühlmann will give us a report from Pokhara in the years back then (1990) and how it looks today.

The Jomsom-trek is arguably the most popular trek by expedition teams in Nepal. It runs from Pokhara to the Tibetan border in the north through the Mustang district and is the ancient trade route to Tibet. To shorten the days of hiking, however, it is possible to fly by plane from Pokhara / Kathmandu to Jomsom. However, no cheap fun!
Jomsom is situated at about 2,682 meters above sea level and is the starting point for expedition teams to Annapurna (8'091 meters) and Dhaulagiri (8'167Meter). The airfield at Jomsom has a runway length of just over 500 meters and belongs to one of the most dangerous airports in the world.

The runway lies in a valley, surrounded by debris, stones and rocks, and is flanked by the Nilgiri mountain range that reaches an altitude of 6’839 – 7’061 meters. In between the Kali Gandaki River winds its way through and bringing the melting water that often overflowed its banks. This is an almost unique and surreal wasteland - not comparable to Lukla. Due to strong winds the airport is quiet often only in the early hours of the day open and mostly just to airplanes. Regarding this weather conditions it often occurs to serious air accidents like last May 2012.

 

Airlines flying (or flew) from Katmandu and Pokhara to Jomsom airfield:

Airlines

Aircraft

Royal Nepal Airlines

DHC-6 Twin Otter, Dornier Do-228

Air Ananya

MIL Mi-8

Agni Air 

Dornier Do-228

Sita Air

Dornier Do-228

Tara Air (ex Yeti Airlines)

Dornier Do-228, DHC-6 Twin Otter, PC-6 Turbo Porter

Cosmic Air

Dornier Do-228, Beechcraft 1900C

Shangri-La Air DHC-6 Twin Otter,
Flight Care Harbin Y-12 I

 

Die Weiten aber auch die schroffe Berglandschaft, umgeben von den höchsten Berge der Welt, lässt einem wohl andächtig verharren und einfach nur noch staunen. Es ist kaum verwunderlich, dass es jedes Jahr tausende von Naturfreunden, Bergsteigern, aber auch Aviatik-Enthusiasten wie unser Guido E. Buehlmann in diese einmalige Gegend verschlägt.
Es bleibt zu hoffen, dass sich der grenzenlose Drang der Touristen, einigermassen in Grenzen hält und auch unseren Kindern und Enkeln diese einmalige Landschaft unbeschadet erhalten bleibt.

 

(Royal) Nepal Airlines

 

Nepal Airlines (formerly called Royal Nepal Airlines) is the flag carrier of Nepal. Home base is the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu (Nepal). The company was founded in July 1958 and started its activities with a single Douglas DC-3 on domestic routes and some destinations in India.
In 1972, Royal Nepal Airlines also started the jet age with a first Boeing B727. Today Nepal Airlines operates a fleet of seven aircraft and serves 39 destinations, including seven International.

Nepal Airlines Flotte, (Stand: 26. Dezember 2011)

Aircraft:

In Fleet Orders

Boeing B757-200

1 -

Boeing B757-200M

1 -

DHC-6-300 „Twin Otter“

5 -

Xian MA-60

- 2

Total

7 2
 
   

DHC-6-300 Twin Otter-9N-ABO (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

DHC-6-300 Twin Otter-9N-ABO (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

DHC-6-300 Twin Otter-9N-ABO (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

DHC-6-300 Twin Otter-9N-ABO (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

   

DHC-6-300 Twin Otter-9N-ABO (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

DHC-6-300 Twin Otter-9N-ABO (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

DHC-6-300 Twin Otter-9N-ABO (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

DHC-6-300 Twin Otter-9N-ABO (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

Air Ananya (heute Shree Airlines)

 

The company was founded in the 90s as Air Ananya, after the name of the founder's granddaughter Ananya Mittal. As a pure helicopter cargo operator, the company in the following years also tried their luck in the passenger business and changed its name to "Shree Airlines", which means something like: "Auspicious beginning"
Today Shree Airlines operates five Mil Mi-8MT helicopters and serves, among other things, the poor population in the rugged mountain areas. An important part of the success is the various contracts of the UN and the "World Food Program" making the delivery of freight and passengers as well as "peacekeeping operations".

 
 

Mil Mi-8MT-9N-ADD (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

Mil Mi-8MT-9N-ADD (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

Mil Mi-8MT-9N-ADD (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

Mil Mi-8MT-9N-ADD (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

Cosmic Air

 

Founded in 1997 and based in Kathmandu, the company had to cease its operations already in 2008. Throughout his business time, the airline has focused on the transportation of the numerous tourists and mountaineer. But the financial problems, especially in the years 2005/2006 could foresee little good! In 2008 Cosmic Air had to apply for insolvency.
During their operational best year in 2005, Cosmic Air owned a Dornier DO-228-300s and four Fokker F-100. Only one F-100 was still in operation up to the bankruptcy.

 
 

Dornier DO-228100, 9N-AEP (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

Dornier DO-228100, 9N-AEP (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

Dornier DO-228100, 9N-AEP (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

Dornier DO-228100, 9N-AEP (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

 

Dornier DO-228100, 9N-AEP (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

Dornier DO-228100, 9N-AEP (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

Dornier DO-228100, 9N-AEP (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

(Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

Shangri-La Air

 

Another company which today no longer exists. Founded in 1999, it was merging already in 2001 with Necon Air. Sadly in 2003 it had to be registered with the bankruptcy. At that time the fleet of Necon Air was running four De Havilland DHC-6-300 “Twin Otter” and two Beechcraft Beech 1900C.

 
 

DHC-6-300 Twin Otter-9N-AFX (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

DHC-6-300 Twin Otter-9N-AFX (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

DHC-6-300 Twin Otter-9N-AFX (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

DHC-6-300 Twin Otter-9N-AFX (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

   

DHC-6-300 Twin Otter-9N-AFX (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

DHC-6-300 Twin Otter-9N-AFX (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

(Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

Flight Care Aviation

 

A small airline in Nepal which provided humanitarian supplies to the population prescribed in the rough areas. Unfortunately, even today, no further, detailed information can be obtained on the company. Even these rare images taken by Guido's visit in November 2001in Jomsom,

 
 

Harbin Y-12 II, 9N-AFO (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

Harbin Y-12 II, 9N-AFO (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

Harbin Y-12 II, 9N-AFO (Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

(Picture courtesy Guido E. Buehlmann)

Kamali Air Service

 

A small, unknown player in the Himalaya business. They fly with an Ecureille EC AS 350-9N-AED (ex ZK-HXB) No further information available today.

 
 

Ecureille EC-AS 350, 9N-AED (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)

Taxiservice in Jomsom; … einmal anders! (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)

(Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)

The Dancing Yak, das “HILTON” Hotel in Jomsom! (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)

 

This kind of extreme flying is probably worldwide unique and you may just find it in places like Nepal.
Such a trip is always stressful, even for non-mountaineer.  You should prepare yourself very well and as already mentioned: "Have no fear of flying"!

Deprivation of comfort and minimal luxury are becoming commonplace, but it will compensate for the fantastic views, and the breathtaking landing maneuver of local pilots who are probably among the most experienced in the world!

Such a trip is probably one of the highlights by an “aviation enthusiast”

 

Unfälle

 

28. September 2012
Shortly after take-off at the international airport in Kathmandu a Dornier DO-228-300 (9N-AHA) of Sita Air crashed for unknown reasons and went up in flames. All 19 people, including 16 tourists and three crew members lost their lives.
The aircraft was on a routine flight from Katmandu to Lukla. According to an eyewitness the aircraft caught fire and crashed into a nearby field. The pilot tried an emergency landing in a creek bed, but it didn’t worked out.

 
 

14. Mai 2012
After take-off at Jomsom Airport (Nepal) on a flight to Pokhara, the pilot of AGNI Air reported technical problems with its Dornier Do-228 (9N-AIG) and asked to return to Jomsom Airport. Just before landing his plane crashed on a small hillside near the airport, this according to statements from the authorities. 15 people of 21 passengers and crew lost their lives.

 

- Last update: 1. June 2013 Written:  21. April 2012 - -
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