Highest Airport in the World Expected to Open Later This Year

The Potala Palace in Lhasa was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until 1959, when there was an uprising in Tibet. Photograph by FlyerTalk member yaohua2000. Click on the photograph for a trip report written by yaohua2000.

Work is reportedly currently under way on Daocheng Yading Airport, which is scheduled to open sometime later this year and serve the Ganzi Tibetan autonomous prefecture in the Chinese province of Sichuan.
At an altitude of approximately 4,436 meters or 14,500 feet, Daocheng Yading Airport — located in Nagqu, which is approximately 186 miles from Lhasa — will supposedly become the highest commercial airport in the world at only 764 meters lower than the base camp of the side of Mount Everest located in China.
Once construction on Daocheng Yading Airport is completed, Bamda airport — also located in Tibet — will be dethroned as the highest airport in the world.
FlyerTalk members knew about the plans for this airport — which will be equipped with one runway approximately 4200 meters in length and is expected to cost slightly greater than $292 million — back in January of 2010.
According to an article written by Natalie Paris of The Telegraph, “The construction is the latest project implemented in Tibetan regions by a Chinese government that hopes to attract one million tourists and raise up to two billion yuan in tourism revenue by 2015.”
The InterContinental Resort Lhasa Paradise Tibet is anticipated to open in 2014 — roughly two years later than the time of its original expected grand opening.
While some are excited about the potential economic growth for the remote region, others oppose the development, claiming that it will cause irreversible damage to the ecology and environment; and that the way of life in Tibet will significantly erode. FlyerTalk members discussed the advantages and disadvantages of development for Tibet when train service first debuted in Tibet back in 2006.
What do you think? Has the push for development helped or hurt Tibet? What are your thoughts on the future for Tibet?

One thought on “Highest Airport in the World Expected to Open Later This Year”

  1. captainwanderlust says:

    Having been to Tibet in 2010 (we took the Beijing to Lhasa train described above), we saw first hand the Chinese government’s develop at all costs mentality. Their efforts are blunt; to eradicate the semblances of Tibetan culture through development of Chinese geared tourist activities and sites. Fifty years ago they could simply murder or imprison dissenters, but that is a little more difficult in today’s social media age. Comically on the train we were bombarded with communist propaganda of the great and all mighty Chinese army/government who built the highest rail line in the world. No doubt the airport will lend itself to similar “promotion” and further erosion of an amazing place. Like most I enjoy luxury hotels, but there are certain places where having five star brands (St. Regis, Intercontinental Resort, etc) actually destroys the culture. I am glad that we were able to see Tibet and its people before the area morphs into one giant Epcot for well healed Chinese tourists. Tibet and its people are amazing.
    Ross M.

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