China has always taken pride in its superlative infrastructure, the latest feather in Beijing’s cap being construction of the world’s highest airport at an altitude of 4,436 meters.
Planned for the Nagqu Prefecture, located 300 Kilometers north of Lhasa, the new airport will be be 102 meters higher than Bamda Airport in Tibet’s Qamdo Prefecture, which has been the world’s highest airport since its completion in 1994. It will also be just 764 meters lower than the Mount Everest base camp on the Chinese side, which is located 5,200 meters above sea level.
“The airport construction is planned for 2011 with a construction period of three years. It is expected to cost 1.8 billion yuan (US$ 263 million) and cover an area of 233 to 266 hectares,” Xu Jian, director of the Nagqu Committee of Development and Reform told China Daily.
Constructed under harsh conditions considering the high altitude and frozen ground, this will be Tibet’s sixth airport. With the new airport in place, China’s dream for Tibet’s civil aviation will be complete. Beijing plans to open direct air routes from Tibet to South Asian countries in the future.
Nagqu, is strategically located in the center of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Being on the Qinghai-Tibet railway line, it is expected to become the center of an economic hub in the plateau region.