Also read Flyer Report's article on the 10 highest airports in the world: https://goo.gl/WOcUHL
Of the ten highest airports in the world, six are located in Tibetan Plateau; four are located in Altiplano in west-central South America, where the Andes are at their widest.
At high altitudes, airport runways are longer. Because the amount of oxygen in the air is lower, airplane engines produce less thrust than normal. In addition, less dense air exerts less force against wings lifting surfaces, requiring higher than normal lift-off speeds, hence longer runs. The longest runway in the world is at Qamdo Bamda Airport in Tibet. The runway is 5,500 metres long. In comparison, the longest runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport is 4,423 metres long. At an elevation of 4,334 metres above sea level, Qamdo Bamda Airport is the world’s second highest airport.
The longest airport runway in Latin America belongs to Inca Manco Cápac International Airport in Peru. The runway is 4,200 metres long. Inca Manco Cápac International Airport is the ninth highest airport on earth, with an altitude of 3,826 metres.
At high altitudes, airports plays an essential role in connecting remote communities to the rest of the world. Yushu, a county in Qinghai province, China, is situated at 3,700 metres above sea level. The county has 89,000 inhabitants; 93% of them are tibetans. On April 14, 2010, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit the county at 7:49 am. Yushu Batang Airport, 30 kilometres away from the epicenter, reopened at noon. The first flight with personnel and supplies of the China International Earthquake Rescue Team landed at 8 pm the same day. During the entire rescue and relief operation, the airport handled 490 flights, delivering more than 2,000 tons of cargos and 17,000 rescue personnel to the disaster area. Yushu Airport is the eighth highest airport in the world, with an altitude of 3,890 meters. The airport has a 3,800 metre long runway. Only a few modified civil airplanes, including Airbus A319, can land at the plateau airport, due to the altitude. Yushu Airport has a capacity to handle 80,000 passengers per year.
The fifth highest airport on earth is El Alto International Airport. With an altitude of 4,062 meters, it is also the world’s highest international airport. The airport’s main runway is 4,000 metres long. Due to the high altitude, most commercial wide-body aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and Airbus A330 can’t operate out of El Alto International Airport. As a result, much of the international traffic to and from Bolivia is handled by Viru Viru International Airport, which is 530 kilometres away.
The tenth highest airport in the world is Xigazê Peace Airport, with an altitude of 3,782 metres. The airport serves Xigazê, the second largest city in Tibet Autonomous Region. The city is home to the magnificent Tashilhunpo Monastery, which was founded by the 1st Dalai Lama in 1447. The airport has a 5,000 metre runway and can receive Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircrafts, with a capacity to handle 230,000 passengers annually.
Near the Bolivian city Potosi, a small airport named Captain Nicolas Rojas Airport is the seventh highest airport in the world. The airport is located at 3,936 metres above sea level. The airport runway is 2,833 metre long, which is the shortest among the world’s ten highest airports. Captain Nicolas Rojas Airport is served by only one airline. Due to local climate and the high altitude, the airport is operable only in the morning.
The world’s sixth highest airport is Uyuni Airport, with an altitude of 3,954 metres. The airport is close to the Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat. The airport improves access to the remote Uyuni area, especially in winter when roads become impassable. Uyuni Airport has one runway which is 4,000 metres long.
"Rains Will Fall" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
"Tashilhunpo Monastery" Dennis Jarvis (Flickr)
"Inca Manco Cápac International Airport" CORPAC
"Cerro Rico" Danielle Pereira (Flickr)
"Salar de Uyuni" Martin St-Amant (Wikimedia Commons)
"El Alto International Airport" Russland345 (Wikimedia Commons)
"Boliviana de Aviación Boeing 737-300" Jimmy Harris (Wikimedia Commons)
"Mount Kailash" Ondřej Žváček (Wikimedia Commons)
"Lake Manasarovar" Yuen Yan (Flickr)
"Yading Nature Reserve" Hafiz Anwar (Flickr)
"Daocheng Yading Airport in 2013" Sichuan Daily
"Airbus A319 at at Daocheng Yading Airport" China News Service
"Daocheng Yading Airport" Daocheng Yading Airport
"Yushu earthquake in 2010" China News Service