Lhasa Gonggar International Airport

Lhasa Gonggar International Airport Overview

Lhasa Gonggar International Airport (IATA: LXA, ICAO: ZULS) is the most important and largest airport in the Tibet. Located on the south bank of the magnificent Brahmaputra River at an altitude of 3,570 meters, it is one of the highest civilian airports in the world. It is also the most important arrival hubs for domestic and international travelers, providing many convenient and efficient flights from Lhasa to other Chinese cities (such as Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Xi'an, Guangzhou, Kunming, etc).


IATA airport code:LXA

ICAO airport code:ZULS

Chinese name:拉萨贡嘎国际机场

Altitude:3, 600 meter

Address: Jiazhulin Town, Gongga County, Shannan, Tibet, about 60 km from Lhasa downtown

Connecting cities:Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Xi'an, Guangzhou, Kunming, Kathmandu


Lhasa Gonggar Airport History

During the World War II, the US Air Force repeatedly tried to open a new airline to fly over the Tibetan Plateau, but all failed. Later, the Republic of China implemented a plan to open a new air route linking Lhasa to Kangding in Sichuan Province. The plan has not been implemented due to extreme air conditions and high altitudes on the Tibetan Plateau. All these failed experiments have made Tibet an "ano-fly zone".


In 1956, Damxung County, about 166 kilometers from Lhasa, was chosen as the base for Tibet's first airport because it was located in the plain. On May 29, 1956, a Kangkong cv-24-401 aircraft that took off from Sichuan Guanghan Airport successfully landed on the runway of Damxung Airport and broke the "taboo" of the "no-fly zone".


With the deployment of two aviation technologies, Lhasa is expected to build a larger new airport. Gonggar International Airport was built in 1965. Subsequently, the first civil aviation route was opened: Beijing-Chengdu-Lhasa. After several decades of expansion, Lhasa Gonggar International Airport has become the most important flight hub on the Tibetan Plateau connecting many Chinese airports and Kathmandu Airport.


It seems a bit risky to cross the challenging Tibetan Plateau and land at an airport at an altitude of 3,700 meters (12,100 feet). But don't worry, all the pilots are well trained to be professional in driving the aircraft and to ensure flight safety.


Lhasa Gonggar Airport Facilities

Lhasa Gonggar International Airport covers an area of ​​about 25,000 square meters (about 6.2 acres), and has runways with a length of 4000 meters and a width of 45 meters. Passenger handling facilities, such as visitor gallery, ticketing office and baggage collection beltways, are located on the first floor of the new terminal, and the lounge, restaurant and shopping center are on the second floor.


All Incoming Domestic flights

Departure city Distance Flight Time Frequency Mode of flight
Chengdu 1286km 2.5h 12 /day direct/stopover
Beijing 3004km 4~6h 3 /day direct
Xi’an 1980km 3h 20m 7 /day direct
Shanghai 3107km 7~9h 7 /day direct/stopover
Chongqing 1585km 2h 50m 10 /day direct
Kunming 1963km 3~5h 4 /day direct
Guangzhou 2651km 6~9h 5 /day direct/stopover
Xining 1558km 2.5~7h 5 /day direct/stopover
Zhenzhou 3392km 3h 50m 2 /day direct/stopover
Shangri-La 872km 2h 1 /day direct
Lijiang 954km 2h 15m 1 /day direct
Mianyang 2274km 2h 3 /day direct/stopover
Kangding 1050km 2h 5 /day direct/stopover
Yushu 704km 1.5h 3~6 /day direct/stopover
Xiahe 2309km 2h 20m 1 /day direct
Sinkiang 1462km 2.5h 1~2 /day direct


International flights to Lhasa

So far, there is only one international air route to Lhasa: Kathmandu - Lhasa. Geographically, Lhasa is only 603.5 kilometers from Kathmandu. It takes only one and a half hours from Kathmandu to Lhasa. The air route in Kathmandu Lhasa is also considered to be one of the most beautiful routes in the world, as it flies over many famous peaks in the Himalayas, such as Mount Everest (8,848 m), Kangchenjunga (8,536 m), Lhotse (8,516 m) and other peaks of the Himalayas.


In the summer, there are direct flights every day, sometimes twice a day, sometimes only once. Only Air China and Sichuan Airlines operate Kathmandu-Lhasa flights. During the off-season, daily flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa may be reduced or even cancelled. From Kathmandu to Lhasa, you need three essential documents – a Tibetan group visa, a Tibet Travel Permit and a valid passport.


Kathmandu-Lhasa Flight Timetable:

Flight No. Departure-Arrival Frequency Ticket Price
Sichuan Airlines
11:30 Tribhuvan Airport
15:10 Gonggar Airport
S/M,-W-F- RMB 5,230
[Economy class]
Air China
12:10 Tribhuvan Airport
16:00 Gonggar Airport
--T-T-S RMB 4,410
[Economy class]


Lhasa Gonggar International Airport Transfers

Lhasa Gonggar Airport is about 60 kilometers from downtown Lhasa. Taking a taxi to the area of ​​Barkhor Street in Lhasa will cost about 100 to 200 RMB. You can also choose an airport bus for about 25 RMB. It usually takes 1 to 1.5 hours to get to Gonggar Airport from downtown.


Chinabeautiful is dedicated to providing you with convenient and comfortable airport pickup service, which are usually included in our Tibet Travel Package. If you join our tour group, you will enjoy our free airport pickup service.


Useful Travel Tips:

1. Documents required for entry/exit in Tibet

√ Passport: The passport must be a valid passport. Whether you are flying or booking a flight, or checking in at the hotel, you must provide the original passport. Therefore, tourists must pay attention to carry a passport with you.

√ Chinese visa: In addition to visa-free countries within 15 days, visitors from other countries are required to provide a valid visa.

√ Tibet Travel Permit: When you exchange your boarding pass and the airport for security check, the airport staff will check the Tibet Travel Permit, so please make sure you have prepared your letter of admission before you fly, and bring the letter to Lhasa. Give a guide


2. How to order airline tickets

Tickets can be booked on the online website, such as Booking.com, Expedia, Ctrip(携程), Qunar(去哪儿网), and Fliggy(飞猪), and more. You can also purchase tickets from a Chinese airport or ticket agent. You are also welcome to help us book your flight. We update the latest flight information in real time and can usually order cheaper tickets. In summer and autumn, it is often difficult to book flights to Lhasa. When using our reservation service, we will not only book a flight, but also arrange a very attractive travel package for you.


3. When is the best time to fly to Tibet?

In general, the recommended months from April to October are the best time to travel to Tibet. Other months are usually cold and there may be heavy snow, especially in the areas of Everest, Mt. Kailash and Namsto Lake. The flights from April to October will be more frequent than in the past. During the period from December to March, airlines will cut the number of flights, usually once a week or even cancel. But big cities like Chengdu and Xi'an still have flights every day during the off-season. It is recommended to take an early flight to arrive in Lhasa later in the afternoon and have enough time to adjust to the altitude and thin air of Lhasa. Morning flights also reduce the risk of flight delays or cancellations.


4. What are the popular gateway cities to fly to Tibet?

At present, Chengdu, Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Chongqing, Kunming and Shangri-La are used as gateways to Tibet.


5. International flights to China

Kathmandu is the only international city that can fly to Lhasa. The flight distance from Kathmandu to Lhasa is only 375 miles (1.5 hours). From May to October, there are one or two direct flights every day. During the off-season, daily flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa may be reduced or cancelled. From Kathmandu to Lhasa, you will need a group visa, Tibet Travel Permit and a valid passport.


6. Besides Lhasa Gonggar Airport, what city in Tibet can I fly to?

There are five airports in Tibet. In addition to Lhasa Gongga Airport, you can also fly to Shigatse, Nyingchi, Lhasa and Qamdo.

√ Ngari - Urumqi (Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang) has a direct flight every Tuesday and Friday. On this flight, passengers need to obtain military permit, border passing permit and Tibet travel permit.

√ Nyingchi - Chengdu and Chongqing currently have direct flights to Nyingchi Mainling. There are about four flights to Nyingchi in Chengdu every morning between 6:00 and 09:00, and there are about 3 flights to Nyingchi in Chongqing. If you want to fly directly to Nyingchi, you can only transfer from these two cities.

√ Qamdo - Chongqing and Chengdu have daily flights to Tibet Changdu. But few tourists choose this line because Qamdo is not a popular tourist destination in Tibet.

√ Shigatse - There are daily flights between Chengdu and Shigatse. The airport name is Shigatse Peace Airport and is about 46 kilometers from Shigatse city center.

7. Baggage check requirements

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


8. Is there discount tickets for children?

Infants under the age of two (based on the date of departure) will purchase a baby ticket at 10% of the adult fare. Children who are 2 years of age or younger and under 12 years of age (based on the date of departure) will be entitled to a seat at 50% of the regular adult fare for the same flight. When purchasing a child ticket, you should provide valid documents such as birth certificate and residence booklet for children and babies. When purchasing a baby or child ticket, the identity information needs to be tied to the adult.


9. How to get a paper ticket after purchasing a ticket online?

At present, there is no paper ticket for online ticket purchase. Visitors can exchange their boarding pass if they only need to present the valid documents used to book the ticket at the airport counter. Foreign guests flying to Tibet, in addition to presenting valid documents, should also present the original letter of admission to check-in.


Lhasa Gonggar International Airport FAQ

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