CHINA IS to build the world’s highest airport at Nagqu, Tibet, at an altitude of 14,500ft (4,436m) above sea level. The construction, which is due to start in 2011 and will take three years to complete, is likely to be daunting task given the altitude and the region’s climate, where average temperatures stay below zero throughout the year! Nagqu is located in the centre of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau and is about 186 miles (300km) from the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. The new airport will beat the current altitude record holder – Bamda Airport in Bangda, Qamdo which is also in Tibet which sits at an elevation of 14,219ft (4,334m). The construction of this, the sixth airport in Tibet, follows China’s 2008 announcement that it would build 97 new facilities by 2020, so that four-fifths of its population will be within a 90-minute drive of an airport.