Air China began daily non-stop service between Beijing and Tibet’s capital Lhasa on December 15, the flight representing the first non-stop scheduled service between the two cities.
Lhasa Gonggar Airport (IATA code LXA) is situated at an elevation of 3,570 meters (11,710 feet). It is one of the highest airports in the world and is surrounded by very high mountains, which range from 17,500 feet to more than 20,000 feet in height.
As a result, Air China is operating the Beijing-Lhasa route with Airbus A319s which are certified for Required Navigation Performance – Authorization Required (RNP-AR) exact-navigation flying. The Airbus A319 is well known for its excellent performance from high-altitude airports.
According to Air China, the crews operating the route are highly experienced in flying routes over the “Roof of the World”, the phrase often used to describe the mountainous Himalayan country in which the Tibetan plateau lies.
Air China has given the daily round-trip the flight numbers CA4125 and CA4126. Each one-way flight takes four hours, two hours less than the previous one-stop service which routed via Chengdu in the province Sichuan.
At present, the service is the only non-stop flight between Beijing and Lhasa. Air China says that in high season it will operate Airbus 330 widebodies on the route.
Air China has been actively involved in forming the air transport network serving Tibet and says it has helped further the Tibet Autonomous Region’s economy, culture and tourism.
The official flag carrier of the People’s Republic of China, Air China operates services between Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Kathmandu (the capital of Nepal) and Tibet, where the carrier serves Lhasa, Linzhi and Bangda.
Air China now operates more than 100 flights a week into and out of Tibet. The airline says its new Beijing-Lhasa service will play an instrumental role in bringing more travelers to Tibet and promoting local economic growth.