An airport at half the Everest’s altitude

Photo: TheHindu
Photo: TheHindu

Daocheng Yading Airport, the world’s highest civilian airport, which is located 14,472 feet above sea level, began operations this month in China’s Sichuan province in a remote Tibetan region of China.

The new airport is approximately 98 miles from Yading Nature Reserve in the eastern part of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Yading is known as “the last Shangri-La” for its untouched lands and breathtaking scenery. The new airport will cut travel time from this provincial area to the city of Chengdu from two days to just 65 minutes. Additional flights to cities including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing are scheduled to commence in the future.

Daocheng Yading is home of Pearl Lake and the Yading Nature Reserve. Photo: DOTWNews
Daocheng Yading is home of Pearl Lake and the Yading Nature Reserve. Photo: DOTWNews

China’s Tibet Autonomous Region has recently experienced a surge in tourist arrivals, with numbers rising 19.6 percent for the period of January-August from the previous year, and more peak numbers expected for the fall with the start of “climbing season.” With five mountains in Tibet that are more than 8,000 meters in height – including Qomolangma, which is known as the “Mount Everest of the West,” and Mount Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth highest mountain – and thousands of mountains above 6,000 meters, climbing in Tibet is a huge draw.

Mountaineering in the region tends to be most accessible in the spring and fall, and the local guides and suppliers are primed and ready for visitors to the destination. With the nature, beauty and history of the region, now is the time to visit China and the Tibet Autonomous Region. New Airport at Daocheng Yading will certainly increase this flow of tourists to the roof of world. It is hoped that the US $277 million development will not only increase accessibility to the region generally, but will lead to a higher influx of tourists at the nearby Yading Nature Reserve, an attraction renowned for its natural beauty. Daocheng Yading Airport sits 250ft higher than China’s previous champion, Qamdo Bamba Airport, which is also located in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Few airports are built in high mountainous areas because thinner air means that aircraft require longer runways. There is also the risk of passengers suffering from symptoms of altitude sickness on arrival, something which tourists arriving at Daocheng Yading are warned of

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