China has announced plans to construct the highest airport in the world, and it will be situated in Tibet. According to Chinese state news agency Xinhua, the new Nagqu Dagring Airport will be located 14,553 feet up – over 300 feet higher than Qamdo Bamda Airport, which is in the same region and which currently stands as the world’s highest-elevated.
Nagqu Dagring Airport represents one segment of a wider localised transport growth plan – the aims of which are to boost local economic growth and improve the quality of life for people living in Tibet.
China’s rule over Tibet has lasted almost 60 years now, and began as a result of Chinese soldiers entering the country in 1951. On average, Tibet sits 16,000 feet high.
World’s Highest Airport
It is understood that the new world’s highest airport will start to be built in 2011, and the project will have a value of around 1.8bn Yuan.
According to Xinhua, about 400,000 people live in Nagqu, the majority of them ethnic Tibetans. ”With the airport, Nagqu, which is also on the Qinghai-Tibet railway line, is expected to become the centre of an economic hub in the plateau region”, one official was quoted as having said.
As well as currently holding the airport height record – in an area dubbed the “roof of the world” - Qamdo Bamda also holds the distinction of possessing the world’s longest runway used by commercial passenger aircraft. Its extreme 18,000+ feet length is dictated by the reduction in air density experienced at this kind of height, meaning in simple terms that aircraft need to have more power applied during take-offs and landings and, therefore, eat up more runway in the process.
“The civil aviation network in Tibet has taken shape”, Xinhua wrote, quoting another official – Chinese civil aviation administration director, Xu Jian. “The objective for the next stage of development is to open direct air routes from Tibet to south Asian countries.”
China to Open World's Second Highest Airport