The 4,411-metre-high Daocheng Yading airport, being built in Garze, a predominantly Tibetan area of China’s southwestern Sichuan province, will become the world’s highest civilian airport when put into operation later this year, Xinhua reported on Sunday.

The airport, which officials said is aimed at boosting tourism in Garze, home to the famous monastery town of Kangding, will surpass the 4,334-metre Bangda airport, located in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), as the highest-altitude civilian airport, Xinhua said. The Bangda airport, built in 1994, will on Monday resume operations after being closed for several months to repair its 19-year-old runway.

The Yading airport, set to open later this year, is being built at a cost of 1.5 billion Yuan ($ 245 million). Authorities have targeted bringing in one million tourists and 1.5 billion Yuan in revenue by 2015.The move to develop tourism comes even as several towns in predominantly Tibetan Garze and neighbouring Aba have been under tight security following a spate of self-immolation protests by Tibetans.

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