China opens world’s highest civilian airport

BEIJING (AP) — China has begun flight operations at the world’s highest civilian airport in a bid to boost tourism.

At an elevation of 4,411 meters (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 meters (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 meters (13,780 feet) long, just 242 meters (794 feet) shorter than the longest runway at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

State media say 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 by bus to just 65 minutes.

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