China opens world’s highest civilian airport

Global News

BEIJING – China has begun flight operations at the world’s highest civilian airport in a bid to boost tourism and tighten political control over the country’s restive west.

At an elevation of 4,411 metres (14,472 feet) above sea level, Daocheng Yading Airport replaces the previous champion, Bangda Airport in the Tibet Autonomous Region, which sits at 4,334 metres (14,219 feet).

Aircraft engines produce less thrust at such elevations because of the much thinner air, calling for longer runways. The one at Daocheng Yading is 4,200 metres (13,780 feet) long, just 242 metres (794 feet) shorter than the longest runway at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Passengers are also warned of light-headedness and other symptoms of altitude sickness on arrival.

State media Tuesday said flights from the new airport that began Monday will slash travel time from scenic Daocheng Yading to Sichuan’s provincial capital of Chengdu from two days…

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