Leh Airport – Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport

Leh Airport – Welcome to Leh Ladakh

Three-character code – IXL
Four-character code – VILH
Country – India
Region – Ladakh UT
Altitude – 3,256
Time zone – UTC+5

Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is the airport in Leh, Ladakh, India. With an average elevation of 3,256 meters (10,682 feet), it is the 22nd highest commercial airport in the world.
Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is named after the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche, who was an Indian politician and monk whose Betu Temple is directly adjacent to the airport.

Due to the mountain breeze in the afternoon, all flights take off and land in the morning. This method is challenging because it is unidirectional and has high terrain towards the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport’s east end. The security of the Indian Army patrolling the airport is very tight. Because it is located between the Himalayas mountains, the route into Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport has been named one of the most scenic routes in the world, which makes the airport a scenic airport for landing and taking off.

According to reports, in February 2016, the Indian Air Force handed over the airport to the Airport Authority of India, and AAI expanded it for civilian purposes. However, the Deputy Commissioner of the Ministry of National Defense and Leh rejected the report that the airbase had withdrawn from the entire airbase. They clarified that the International Astronautical Alliance would free up a small part of the land to build a new dock.

Statistics – (April 2016-March 2017)
• Passenger movement – 563,800 (38.0%)
• Aircraft movement – 4,904 (42.8%)
• Cargo tonnage – 1,665 (15.5%)

Airlines And Destinations Of Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport

• Air India – Chandigarh, Delhi, Jammu, Srinagar
• SpiceJet Airlines – New Delhi
• GoAir – Delhi, Mumbai, Srinagar
• Jet Airways – New Delhi
• Vistara – New Delhi

Few interesting facts:

  • Construction of the a new terminal of Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport began in February 2019 to increase the capacity.
  • The security of the country’s highest commercial airport will now be in the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) from August 4.
  • 100 personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force will now be guarded here all the time. Located at 3,256 meters above sea level, this airport is very important for India in terms of strategy and security.
  • Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport will be the 64th civil airport to be brought under the Central Industrial Security Force.
  • Ladakh became a Union Territory on 31 October last year after the withdrawal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and dividing it into two Union Territories.
  • Leh’s Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport capacity is going to increase; passengers will get these best facilities.
  • Given the continuous increase in the number of people coming to Leh, a new modern terminal building is being constructed. At present, more than 9 lakh passengers travel to and from this Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport. In this new terminal building to be built at Rs 480 crores, passengers will get many world-class facilities.
  • By December 2022, this terminal building will be ready. After constructing the new terminal building, the passenger capacity of Leh Airport will increase to 20 lakhs annually. The new terminal building will be a 4 star home (GRIHA) rated energy conserved. There will be an online baggage handling system. Passengers will be equipped with centralized cooling and heating facilities.
  • The new terminal building will be protected from natural disasters, the impression of Buddhism will be seen.
  • The construction of the new terminal building will be such that it can be protected from natural disasters. It will be better connected with the elevator. In the design of the new building, the impressions of ancient Buddhist philosophy will be seen. All aspects related to Buddhism will also be threaded into the construction of this building.
  • Tourists from all over the world have come to Leh for a long time. It is believed that with the construction of this new terminal building, there will be an increase in tourism and employment in the area. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of this new terminal building on 3 February 2019.
  • In addition to the runway for air force planes, Leh Airport also has two ground helicopter landing sites in the south of the airport. The AH64E Apache should be transferred from the 125th Wing at Pathankot base, and the CH47F should be from the 126 Wing at Chandigarh base. Both AH64E and CH47F were delivered to India from the United States last year.
  • But Leh Airport – Kushok Bakula Rimpochee had some issues in scheduling flights post afternoon. Since it is a river valley airport, the crosswinds in the river valley have a considerable impact on aircraft takeoff and landing, resulting in the Leh airport can only be used in the morning.
  • Besides, the area has sparse vegetation. The Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport heats up rapidly during the day. The high temperature and high altitude cause double degradation of flight performance. The aircraft capacity is limited, and it is only possible to take off and land in the morning. During the take-off and landing phase, the pilots obviously felt particularly bumpy. The reason was that they were flying in the valley, and the complicated terrain caused the wind direction to change rapidly.

Flights Arrival Time Of Leh Airport

The flight to Leh Airport in India can be seen below. All flights are listed according to the estimated arrival time, with flight number, carrier, origin, arrival time, and status displayed.

Airport time : 6:06 (GMT +5.5)
Time period(s) : 00:00-23:59
Carrier – Flight – Origin – Arrival

SpiceJetSG 7153New Delhi (DEL)7:20 am
SpiceJetSG 7151New Delhi (DEL)7:25
Go AirG8 199New Delhi (DEL)7:45
Air IndiaAI 3449New Delhi (DEL)8:55
SpiceJetSG 207New Delhi (DEL)9:10
Air IndiaAI 445New Delhi (DEL)9:30
Go AirG8 203Jammu (IXJ)10:15
SpiceJetSG 7370New Delhi (DEL)11:10
SpiceJetSG 123New Delhi (DEL)11:25
The schedule and flights given above is subject to change.

A Plateau Airport in the Himalayas

In plateau areas, airport conditions greatly impact aviation operations and must be investigated clearly. Don’t get discouraged as soon as you see that the other party has an airport. Due to various conditions, many of the airports of the enemy and ours may look good, but they are only partially disabled.

Although Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport has a large storage base and logistics center, the roads passing through the front line are relatively steep. Many road sections are difficult to pass after the snowfall. Because of the Tversky Land’s flatter terrain, the roads leading to the frontline area are relatively flat, and the materials can be continuously transferred to the frontline after the snowfall in winter.

During the travel season (June-October), Delhi has 4 to 6 flights every day to Leh; the flight time is 1 hour. Srinagar and Jammu maintain a low frequency of twice a week. Generally speaking, you can buy tickets for 5,000 rupees if you buy them some time in advance. There may only be two or three flights a day between Delhi and Leh in winter and spring.

Leh from above

Hotels near Leh airport:

If you’re planning on visiting Leh Ladakh, the airport is located just a few kilometers away from hotels, which is just a few minute’s drive. If you have booked a tour package with us, then our driver will pick you up from the airport and drop you at your hotel. Or you can just hire a taxi and ask the driver to take you to a nearby hotel. The nearest guest house is around 1km away from the airport. And the nearest hotel is around five km away from the airport. Traveling to the airport can be a tedious task, especially if you happen to be on the wrong end of a long queue, or if you happen to be late. You might have to wait for a long time, so, it would be better to leave your hotel to go to the airport two hours before the departure of the flight.

Distance from Leh airport to main tourist attractions in Ladakh

PlaceDistance from Main Leh MarketETA from Leh Airport
Pangong Lake227 km5-6 hours
Nubra Valley162 km4-5 hours
Zanskar Valley470 km10-12 hours
Kargil215 km4-6 hours
Drass275 km6-7 hours
Khardungla Pass41 km1 hour
Magnetic Hill29 km30 mins
Lamayuru113 km2-3 hours
Tso Moriri Lake222 km5-6 hours
Leh Palace4.5 km5 mins

You should not visit far or high altitude places like Nubra and Pangong from Leh airport on the day of arrival. On your arrival at Leh airport, you should look for a hotel in Leh to rest. By resting on the first day of arrival, you will acclimatize properly and then you can visit other places in Ladakh. If you won’t acclimatize you might suffer from AMS. Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a mountain sickness that can affect travelers at very high altitudes, typically above 12k feet. The higher you go, generally the worse the sickness gets. Because of its extreme nature. There are a number of symptoms that may occur with acute mountain sickness, and they include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, nasal congestion, etc. So, it would be best if you go to a hotel in Leh from the Leh airport and rest properly to get acclimatize.

Taxis at Leh Airport

When you leave the arrival terminal of Leh airport, you will find a lot of cabs to hire. Also, there would a taxi ticket booth on the right side of the arrival terminal exit, from there you can book a taxi to your hotel in Leh. The charges from Leh airport to Leh Main market is Rs. 600-800.

Useful tips

  • Check the weather of Leh a day before visiting Leh. If the temperature of Leh is very cold and your home town is hot, then carry some warm clothes with you and wear them before leaving the plane at the airport.
  • At the Leh airport you might not feel very cold, but don’t let it fool you. Wear your warm clothes otherwise, the cold weather of Ladakh might make you sick.
  • On departure from Leh airport, arrive at Leh airport two hours before the plane boarding time, as there might be a rush and you have to wait in a queue which will take longer.
  • Before starting to pack your bags for Leh and from Leh, confirm the weight restriction policies of the airline you are traveling with. Air India allows 30 kg per person. So, check with your airlines to confirm the allowable weight that you can carry to and from Leh Ladakh.

FAQs of Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Leh Airport:

Is there any airport in Ladakh?

Yes Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Leh Airport is the airport of Ladakh. The airport is in Leh.

Where is Leh airport located?

Leh airport is located in the Skalzangling region of Leh which is around 4 km away from the main Leh bazaar.

Distance from Leh airport to Pangong lake?

From Leh airport, Pangong Lake is around 230 km and it would take around 5 to 6 hours to reach Pangong from Leh Airport

The altitude of Leh airport?

Leh airport is at an elevation of 10,600 feet / 3256 meters high.

How far is the city center from Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (IXL)?

From the main Leh market, it is about 4 km to Kusok Bacula Limpoche Airport (IXL).

The average number of flights departing from Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (IXL) every day?

There is an average of 3 daily flights departing from Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (IXL).

What is the earliest departure time for a flight departing Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (IXL)?

The flight with the earliest departure time is SG122, a flight to Delhi, with a departure time of 08:00 am. If you have booked this flight, we recommend staying at a hotel near the airport the day before departure to ensure smooth boarding.

Which flight departs Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (IXL) with the latest departure time?

The flight with the latest departure time is SG124, the flight to Delhi, with a departure time of 12:10. If you have booked this flight, we recommend that you check the operating time of the airport bus, airport railroad, or airport transfer in advance to ensure smooth boarding.

What are the most popular domestic flights departing to Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (IXL)?

Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (IXL) Top flights are from Leh to Delhi, Srinagar, Kolkata, Jammu & Varanasi. Among them, the most popular domestic flight is to Delhi.

What are the international flight from Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (IXL)?

There are no direct international flights from Leh airport, you have to make at least one stop to fly internationally.

View Ladakh tour packages