Chapman Freeborn blog

Chapman Freeborn’s Top 10 South Asian Airports For Private Jet Travellers 

Whether you’re travelling to the Maldives, Nepal, Goa or Delhi, here are the ten most popular South Asian airports for private jet travellers.

Velana International AirportMalé, Maldives 

Known as the ‘King’s Island’ due to its central location, Malé is the gateway to the Maldives and adjacent to Hulhule Island home to its main airport. Malé is probably the world’s smallest capital at only one square mile, but it’s still worth stopping here for a few hours to savour the local scene.

The Maldives has many luxury resorts to visit, but Malé itself is worth a few hours’ investigation. Take a walk down to the fish market as local fishermen unload and sell their catch – mainly tuna. It’s located west of Republic Square along the inner harbour. The former Sultan’s Palace is now the island’s National Museum and houses valuable relics from the pre-Islamic era as well as more modern regal objects, while the Malé Friday Mosque is one of the oldest on the island and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tribhuvan International AirportKathmandu, Nepal 

Located 6km from the centre of Kathmandu, this Himalayan mountain city has long been revered by explorers and tourists alike. The descent into Kathmandu International Airport is one of the most exciting arrivals in the world, across forests and mountains of the world’s highest mountain range. Currency exchange is available at a small Forex booth by the exit and we’ve heard the minimum rate is $50.

There is much to see in Kathmandu, but go easy as the altitude can initially be exhausting. Visit Durbar Square, where the Nepalese Kings were once crowned, take a walk around Hanuman Dhoka, Kathmandu’s royal palace, the peaceful Garden of Dreams and the busy square of Asan Tole, full of spice traders and vegetable stalls.

Goa International Airport, Goa, India 

Flying into Goa will take you over paddy fields and palm-fringed coastlines with shimmering white sand. Also known as Dabolim airport, it’s the unique airport in the state of Goa and is located in the city of Dabolim, 29 km southwest of Panaji, the capital city, and 4km from Vasco de Gama.

The former Portuguese province is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, renowned for its beautiful beaches, architecture and biodiversity. Some of the best Goa attractions include: Dudhsaga Falls, Fort Aguada, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary and the Basilica of Bom Jesus.

Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, India

Located in Palam, 16km southwest of the centre of Delhi, Indira Gandhi International Airport is the largest airport in India and an important international transport hub. The airport has received several awards for its efficiency and improvements and is the 10th busiest airport in south east Asia.

India’s proud capital, Delhi is home to some 19 million people. A vibrant and energetic metropolis there are many attractions for visitors. These include the imposing Mughal-era Red Fort in Old Delhi, as well as the Jama Jasjid mosque and Chandni Chowk bazaar. Humayun’s Tomb – the inspiration for the Taj Mahal – is unmissable, as is the newer temple complex of Swaminarayan Askhardham and Ghandi’s Smriti, the site of the spiritual leader’s assassination.

Jaipur International Airport, India

Jaipur International Airport is the primary airport serving Jaipur, the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan and is located around 13km from the city centre. It’s a well-equipped airport with lounges, Wi-Fi and food outlets, as well as gift shops. The architecture gives visitors a true taste of Rajasthan with its sandstone entrance gate, fountains and palm trees. The walls are transparent and use shading to keep out the harsh Indian sun.

Jaipur is known as the ‘Pink City’ for the colour of its beautiful buildings. Top Jaipur attractions include the Amber Fort and Palace, the Hawa Mahal Palace of the Winds, Jantar Mantar Observatory and the impressive Jaigarh Fort.

Agra Airport, Agra, India

Like many airports in India, Agra Airport in the north of the country doubles as a military airbase and a public airport. Located 5km from the centre of Agra, it is also known as Kheria Air Force Station. Although small, the one-terminal airport has five check-in counters, a beauty spa, tourist information and food and beverage outlets.

Most visitors to Agra come to visit the famous Taj Mahal. This outstanding white-marble mausoleum on the Yamuna River was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 to house the remains of Mumtaz Mahal, his favourite wife. Agra Fort and Jama Mosque are just a couple of many other attractions in Agra.

Pokhara Airport, Nepal

Pokhara Airport is the gateway to the Himalayas and the main airport for tourists visiting Kathmandu and other mountain destinations such as Jomsom. The descent into Pokhara Airport is breath-taking: deep escarpments and rivers, lakes and paddy fields are the stunning backdrop in this mountainous region with the mighty and enigmatic Himalayas ever present. If approaching from the east the plane will fly over the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu.

Pokhara is an exciting destination and we recommend taking in a few of the local sights before heading to other parts of Nepal. Pokhara is home to the Magars and Gurungs, farmers and warriors who are world-renowned for being Ghurkha soldiers. Visit the surrounding lakes of Phewa, Rupa and Begnes, and don’t miss the Bahari Temple, a two-storey sacred pagoda. The limestone bat cave of Mahendra Gupha is also worth a visit.

Jaisalmer Airport, Rajasthan, India

Situated 17 kilometres south-east of Jaisalmer in the northern state of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer Airport is a civilian airport that occupies part of an established Indian military air base. Previously closed until this year, the airport has seen massive investment and is now an important travel hub for the region.

Jaisalmer is one of Rajasthan’s most popular destinations. A former trading centre and the home of Indian kings, it’s located in the Thar Desert and known as the Golden City on account of its distinctive sandstone architecture. Jaisalmer Fort, a huge citadel with 99 bastions is unmissable. Behind its mighty walls visitors will find the beautiful Maharaja’s Palace as well as superb examples of Jain temples.

Veer Savarkar International Airport (Port Blair Airport)

Gateway to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Veer Savarkar International Airport is a single-runway airport on South Andaman Island and has one terminal and two gates. It’s located 2km from the capital city of Port Blair. To accommodate the increase in passengers, a new terminal building is under construction and scheduled to be opened in March 2018.

The city of Port Blair has many attractions. Cellular Jail, where the British and Japanese housed political prisoners is now a national monument with a garden. There’s a mini zoo at Chidiya Tapu and former WW2 Japanese bunkers near Corbyn’s Cove, a popular local beach. South Andaman is a convenient launch pad for the beautiful Havelock Islands.

Dehradhun Airport (aka Jolly Grant airport)

Dehradhun Airport is conveniently located just 20 miles northwest from the holy city of Rishikesh. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, the approach is across verdant forest areas and drier plains with the snow-capped Himalayas beckoning on the horizon. Also known as Jolly Grant Airport, it’s 1805 feet above sea level and just 19 miles southeast of the city of Dehradun.

Rishikesh became well known in the West in the Sixties, after the Beatles visited the Maharaishi Mahesh Yogi. Since then, the city on the banks of the Ganges has been a magnet for seekers of all faiths. The River Ganges is the main focal point and there are a host of ashrams – from luxe to budget – that provide the ideal environment for spiritual healing. Rishikesh is also a popular white-water rafting and activity centre.