About Lhasa Gonggar International Airport

Brief History

During the World War II, the USA Airforce had tried many times to open up a new airline to fly over Tibet Plateau, but all failed. Later, the Republic of China also had carried out a plan with purpose to launch a brand new air route to connect Lhasa with Kangding in Sichuan Province. The plan wasn’t implemented because of extreme air condition and high elevations of Tibet Plateau. All these failed trials made Tibet a “Forbidden Air Zone”.

In 1956, Damxung County, about 103mi (166km) from Lhasa City, was chosen as the base to construct the first airport in Tibet because of its location at the plain grassland. On May 29, 1956, a Convair CV-240-401 departed from Guanghan Airport in Sichuan Province, and made successful landing on the runway of Damxung Airport, and broke the jinx of the “Forbidden Air Zone”.

As the deployment of both aerotechnics, the capital city Lhasa was expected to establish a larger and new airport. Thun the Gonggar International Airport was constructed in 1965. Later, the first civil air route was launched: Beijing – Chengdu – Lhasa. After decades’ expansion of facilities, Lhasa Gonggar International Airport has become the most important flight hub in the Tibetan plateau connecting many airports in China and Kathmandu Airport.

Flying through the challenging Tibet Plateau and then landing at an airport at the high altitude of 3,700 meters (12,100 ft) seems to be a little bit adventurous. But don’t worry, all the pilots are well trained to be qualified to fly the planes professionally and safely.

Terminal Facilities

Lhasa Gonggar International Airport covers a total area around 25,000 square meters (around 6.2 acres) with a 4000 meters long, 45 meters wide runway. Passenger handling facilities such as the hall for seeing off passengers, ticketing office, and baggage collection beltways are on the 1st floor of the new terminal building, while the departure lounge is on the 2nd floor, as well as restaurants and shopping malls.

Lhasa Gonggar Airport
Plane Taking off at Lhasa Gonggar Airport
Lhasa Gonggar Airport
Bird's-eye View of Lhasa Gonggar International Airport

Domestic Flights to Lhasa

Currently, Lhasa Gonggar Airport is well connected to many destinations in China. During the tourist season (May to October), there are more than 20 flights heading to Lhasa each day. Top cities like Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Xian, Kunming, usually operate more than 2 daily direct flights to Lhasa each day. Some other destinations, such as Shangri-La, Lijiang, Xining, Urumqi, Guangzhou, Kangding, Mianyang, Zhengzhou, Xiahe also have direct flights and connecting flights to Lhasa everyday. Among all these cities, Chengdu is the most popular hub for taking flights/off Tibet. There are more than 20 flights flying between Chengdu and Lhasa each day. Xian also operates about 4~6 flights to Lhasa each day.

Top Tibet Flights Routes

Chengdu to Tibet Flights

As the most important gateway to Tibet, Chengdu operates more than 30 flights between Chengdu and Tibet (Lhasa, Nyingchi, Shigatse and Qamdo) in summer and autumn days from early morning about 6am to late afternoon around 9pm. If you are planning a travel to Tibet, you can choose Chengdu as the flight departing hub because it has a much more frequent flight schedule. While in other cities like Beijing, Xian and Shanghai, it is quite difficult to book flight tickets especially during tourist peak seasons (June to October).

Flight No.Departure -- ArrivalDurationFrequencyPlaneFull Price
06:00
Shuangliu Airport T2
08:25
Gonggar Airport
2h 25m SMTWTFS Airbus A330
1630 ¥
Economy Class
07:15
Shuangliu Airport T2
09:35
Gonggar Airport
2h 20m SMTWTFS Airbus A330
1630 ¥
Economy Class
08:15
Shuangliu Airport T2
10:40
Gonggar Airport
2h 25m SMTWTFS Airbus A319
1630 ¥
Economy Class
08:40
Shuangliu Airport T2
stopover
Kangting
12:25
Gonggar Airport
3h 45m SMTWTFS Boeing 737
1630 ¥
Economy Class
12:45
Shuangliu Airport T2
15:05
Gonggar Airport
2h 20m SMTWTFS Airbus A319
1630 ¥
Economy Class
18:55
Shuangliu Airport T2
21:20
Gonggar Airport
2h 25m - - T - - - - Airbus A330
1630 ¥
Economy Class

Check Full Schedule and Fares of Chengdu Lhasa Flights >>

Beijing to Lhasa Flights

Beijing is the most used international arrival city in China, also a popular gateway to Tibet. There are three direct flights to Lhasa from Beijing Capital International Airport every day, including two nonstop flights and one flight with a stopover at Chengdu. The non-stop Beijing to Lhasa flights just take about 4.5 hours.

Flight No.Departure -- ArrivalDurationFrequencyPlaneTicket
7:35
Capital Airport(T3)


12:05
Gonggar Airport
4h 30m SMTWTFS Airbus A319
3260 ¥
Economy Class
08:15
Capital Airport (T3)
Stopover
Chengdu
15:05
Gonggar Airport
6h 50m SMTWTFS Airbus A319
3260 ¥
Economy Class
14:45
Capital Airport (T3)


19:15
Gonggar Airport
4h 30m SMTWTFS Airbus A319
3260 ¥
Economy Class

Check Full Schedule and Fares of Beijing Lhasa Flights >>

Xian to Lhasa Flights

Compared with Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Xian is closer to Lhasa. Travelers only have to fly about 1230 miles (1980 km), approximately 3 hours 20 minutes.. Xian Xianyang International Airport operates several daily direct flights to Lhasa, including 5 nonstop flights and 2 direct flights with a stop at Xiahe or Xining. These flights are operated by Tibet Airlines, Sichuan Airlines and Eastern Airlines which are all experienced airlines to operate flights on high plateau area.

Flight No.Departure -- ArrivalDurationFrequencyPlaneTicket
06:20
Xianyang Airport(T2)


09:45
Gonggar Airport
3h 25m - - TW - - - Airbus A319
2280 ¥
Economy Class
06:45
Xianyang Airport (T3)


10:05
Gonggar Airport
3h 20m S - T - TF - Airbus A319
2280 ¥
Economy Class
08:20
Xianyang Airport (T3)


11:35
Gonggar Airport
3h 15m SMTWTFS Airbus A319
2280 ¥
Economy Class
11:20
Xianyang Airport (T3)


14:40
Gonggar Airport
3h 20m SMTWTFS Airbus A319
2280 ¥
Economy Class

Check Full Schedule and Fares of Xian Lhasa Flights >>

Shanghai Lhasa Flights

Currently there are two direct flights and several connecting flights operated to Lhasa each day. It takes about 7~8 hours to fly from Shanghai to Lhasa over a distance around 1930miles (3107km). Currently Shanghai usually operates about 5 flights to Lhasa every day. But due to the long flying distance (3107km), it costs longer time and more money to fly to Lhasa from Shanghai, compared with Beijing, Chengdu, Xian, etc. Only 2 flights are direct flights (usually stop over at Xian or Chengdu). Others are connecting flights which need to transfer at Chongqing, Xian, Dazhou, etc.

Flight No.Departure -- ArrivalDurationFrequencyPlaneTicket
06:45
Pudong Airport T1
stopover
Xi'an
14:40
Gonggar Airport
7h 55m SMTWTFS JET
3360 ¥
Economy Class
14:25
Hongqiao Airport T2
stopover
Chengdu
21:20
Gonggar Airport
6h 55m - - TWT - - Airbus A330
3360 ¥
Economy Class
08:40
Pudong Airport T2
transfer
Chongqing
16:35
Gonggar Airport
7h 55m S - - W - - - Airbus A320

Airbus A319
/
Economy Class

Check Full Schedule and Fares of Shanghai Lhasa Flights >>

All Flights to Tibet in Summary

Air RouteDistanceDurationFrequencyFlight Type
Chengdu Lhasa 768miles (1286km) about 2.5 hours appr 12 flights per day direct flights
Beijing Lhasa 1867 miles (3004 km) 4~6 hours appr 3 flights per day direct flights
Xian Lhasa 1230 miles (1980 km) about 3 hrs 20 mins appr 7 flights per day direct flights
Shanghai Lhasa about 1930mi (3107km) about 7~9 hours appr 5 flights per day stopover / connecting
Chongqing Lhasa 985miles(1585km) about 2hrs 50mins appr 10 flights per day direct flights
Kunming Lhasa 1220 miles (1963 km) about 3~5 hours appr 4 flights per day direct flights
Guangzhou Lhasa 1647miles (2651km) about 6~9 hours appr 5 flights per day direct / connecting
Xining Lhasa 968miles (1558km) about 2.5~7 hours appr 5 flights per day direct / connecting
Zhengzhou Lhasa 2107 miles (3392 km) about 3hrs 50mins appr 2 flights per day direct / connecting
Shangri-La Lhasa 542 miles(872km) about 2 hours appr 1 flight per day direct flights
Lijiang Lhasa 593 miles (954 km) about 2hrs 15mins appr 1 flight per day direct flights
Mianyang Lhasa 1412miles (2274km) about 2 hours appr 3 flights per day direct / connecting
Kangding Lhasa 652miles (1050km) about 2 hours appr 5 flights per day direct / connecting
Yushu Lhasa 437miles (704km) about 1.5 hours appr 3~6 flights per day direct / connecting
Xiahe Lhasa 1435 miles (2309 km) about 2hrs 20mins appr 1 flight per day direct flight
Xinjiang Ngari 908 miles (1462 km) about 2.5 hours appr 1~2 flights per week direct flights

International Flights to Lhasa

So far, there is only one international air line connecting Lhasa: Kathmandu – Lhasa. Geographically speaking, Lhasa is only about 375 miles (603.5 km)’s flying from Kathmandu. It costs only about 1.5 hours to get to Lhasa from Kathmandu. The Kathmandu Lhasa Air Route is also considered as one of the most beautiful air routes in the world because it flies over many famous peaks over 8000 meters on the Himalaya Range, such as Mount Everest (8,848m), Kanchenjunga (8,536m), Lhotse (8,516m) and other Himalayan peaks.

During summer days, there are daily direct flights operated, sometimes two flights and sometimes just one flight. Only Air China and Sichuan Airlines are operating the Kathmandu - Lhasa flights. In the low seasons, there might be less or no daily flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa. To take a flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa, one will need to have three necessary documents – Tibet Group Visa, Tibet Travel Permit and Tibet Border Pass.

Lhasa Gonggar Airport
Kathmandu International Airport

Kathmandu - Lhasa Flights Schedule and Fares

Flight No.Departure -- ArrivalDurationFrequencyPlaneTicket
11:30
Tribhuvan Airport


15:10
Gonggar Airport
1h 25m SM-W-F- Airbus A319
5230 ¥
Economy Class
12:10
Tribhuvan Airport


16:00
Gonggar Airport
1h 35m --T-T-S Airbus A319
4410 ¥
Economy Class

Check Full Schedule and Fares of Kathmandu Lhasa Flights >>

Transfer to/off Lhasa Gonggar International Airport

Lhasa Gonggar Airport is about 60km from Lhasa downtown. It costs about 100~200 CNY to the Barkhor Street area of Lhasa city. Airport shuttle bus is also available, and costs only about 25 CNY. It usually takes about 1~1.5 hours to transfer between the airport and Lhasa downtown.

Tibet Discovery also provides you convenient and comfortable airport pick-up and drop-off services which are usually included in our Tibet tour packages. If you take our group tours, you will enjoy our free airport pick-up and drop-off services which are offered at contain hours:

Free Airport Transfer to Hotel in Lhasa

  • - Around 10:00 pick up travelers who arrive at Lhasa Gonggar Airport before 09:30 AM;
  • - Around 14:00 pick up travelers who arrive at Lhasa Gonggar Airport before 13:30 PM;
  • - Around 17:00 pick up travelers who arrive at Lhasa Gonggar Airport before 16:30 PM.

Free Transfer to Airport from Hotel in Lhasa

  • - Around 07:00 pick up travelers who departs from Lhasa Gonggar Airport between 09:00 ~ 11:30 AM;
  • - Around 09:30 pick up travelers who departs from Lhasa Gonggar Airport between 11:30 AM ~ 14:30 PM;
  • - Around 12:30 pick up travelers who departs from Lhasa Gonggar Airport after 14:30 PM.

- Learn more about Lhasa Gonggar International Airport.

Lhasa Gonggar Airport
Lhasa Gonggar International Airport

Tibet Travel Permit and Flight Travel

A Tibet Travel Permit (Tibet Entry Permit) is the MUST-DOCUMENT to take a flight to Tibet. It is firstly needed to book flight from the airport or ticket agent. When you check in and check out the airports, the original Tibet Travel Permit also will be checked. (Note: if you take flight to Lhasa from Kathmandu, you only have to have the scanned copy of Tibet Travel Permit.) Please remember to duplicate at least 3 copies of Tibet Travel Permit because the permits are required for many occasions. The permit can only be issued in Tibet by the Tibet Tourism Bureau, and also can be only applied by travel agency behalf of travelers. It needs about 15~20 days to obtain the permit.

How to Apply for Tibet Travel Permit

1. Contact us to work out and confirm an itinerary in Tibet;

2. Send us the scanned copies of your passport, and provide an available address in China(hotel or local agency) to receive your permit;

3. We apply for the Tibet Travel Permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa;

4. Once the permit is issued, we will send the original permit to you by post.

> Learn more detail about Tibet Travel Permit Application

Lhasa Gonggar Airport
Tibet Travel Permit

Useful Notes on Tibet Flight Travel

1. Necessary documents required to take a flight to/off Tibet

- Chinese visa is always needed no matter you are taking a flight or a train to Tibet. The office man in the airport will check your Chinese visa when your go to board the plane.

- The passport will be needed for many situations: booking flight ticket, checking in flight, checking in hotel, checking in the Border Station in Tibet, etc. Make sure your passport is valid and original.

- Original Tibet Travel Permit will be checked when you board your plane at the airports.

2. How to book flight ticket?

The flight ticket can be booked at online websites, such as Booking.com, Expedia, Ctrip, Qunar, etc. You can also buy the ticket from the airports in China or flight resellers. You are also welcomed to let us book your flight. We are always keeping up with the latest flight news and usually can book the ticket at a cheaper price. During summer and autumn, it usually gets difficult to book the flights to Lhasa. While using our booking service, we will not only book the ticket, but also arrange a valuable tour package.

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

Generally speaking, months from April to October are recommended for traveling in Tibet. Other months are usually very cold, and possibly have heavy snow, especially in regions like Mount Everest, Mount Kailash, Namtso Lake, etc. The flights schedules are also more frequent during April to October. During December to March, the airline companies will cut down the flight schedules, usually from daily weekly, even to none. But top cities like Chengdu and Xian still operate daily flights during the shoulder season. It is recommended to take the morning flight so that you can get to Lhasa before late afternoon, and have enough time to acclimatize yourself to the altitude and thin air in Lhasa. The morning flights also cut down the risk that your flights would be delayed or canceled.

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

Currently Chengdu, Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Chongqing, Kunming, Shangri-La are mostly used by travelers as gateway hubs to fly to Tibet.

5. International flights to China

So far, Kathmandu is the only international city which operates flights to Lhasa. It is only about 375 miles (1.5 hours)’s flying from Kathmandu to Lhasa. During months from May to October, there are usually one or two daily direct flights operated. In the low seasons, there might be less or no daily flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa. To take a flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa, one will need a Group Visa, Tibet Travel Permit and Tibet Border Permit.

6. What else airport I can fly to except for Lhasa Gonggar International Airport?

Tibet has five airports in total. Besides Lhasa Gonggar Airport, you can also take a flight to Shigatse, Nyingchi, Ngari and Qamdo. But only certain cities in China operate flights to these smaller cities.

- Shigatse - there is daily flight flying between Chengdu and Shigatse each day. The airport name is Shigatse Peace Airport, which is about 46km from Shigatse city.

- Nyingchi - Chengdu usually offers 4 morning flights to Nyingchi Milin Airport. While its neighboring city Chongqing also has 3 morning flights to Nyingchi each day. If you travel from Nyingchi to Lhasa, you are recommended to take a flight to Nyingchi firstly from Chengdu or Chongqing. It is also available to fly out Tibet directly from Nyingchi.

- Qamdo - Both Chongqing and Chengdu operate a daily flight to Qamdo in Tibet. But there are few travelers have chosen this line because Qamdo is not a popular tourist destination in Tibet.

- Ngari - Urumqi (capital of Xinjiang) offers a daily direct flight to Ngari with a stop at Kashgar on every Tuesday and Friday. Taking this flight, passengers need Military Permit and Border Pass as well as Tibet Travel Permit.

7. The regulation on the free luggage allowance on the plane

Luggage TypeFirst ClassBusiness ClassEconomy ClassAllowed Baggage Size
Allowed Carry-on Baggage 5kg * 2 pieces 5kg 5kg 55cm/20cm/40cm(L/B/H)
Allowed Free Checked-in Baggage 40kg 30kg 20kg 100cm/60cm/40cm(L/B/H)

8. Will my kids get a discounted flight ticket?

Kids aging 2 to 12 years old (including 12) will get a discount of 50% of the full price of the flight fare. If an adult take a flight to Lhasa from Chengdu with a child aging at 10 and the full price for the economy class is 1680 CNY, the ticket fare for the child is 840 CNY. The child also doesn’t have to pay for Airport Construction Fee while the adult has to. Infant under 2 years old only has to pay 10% of the full price, but the separate seat is not provided.

9. How do I collect (receive) the flight ticket?

Since most flight tickets are booked online, so firstly you will receive an e-ticket. You will change a paper ticket when you checking in your flight at a counter in the airport.