11 Highest Altitude Airports in the World

If you are wondering where is the highest commercial/civilian airport in the world, then you came to the right place. We list down 11 of the highest airports in the world in terms of elevation.

Landing at these airports may not be as comfortable as you may think. Trust me, I landed at El Alto International Airport in La Paz, Bolivia and it was very uncomfortable. I had altitude sickness the moment I went out of the plane. But, it was still an amazing experience knowing that I landed on one of the highest airports in the world in terms of altitude.

So, without further ado, here’s the list of the highest altitude commercial airports in the world!

11. Golog Maqin Airport

Number 11 on the list is an airport located in Qinghai Province, China. Towering at over 12,428 ft above sea level, Golog Maqin Aiport began its construction in 2012 with an enormous budget of $191 Million. 

The airport has a capacity to handle up to 80,000 passengers and 200 tonnes of cargo. The airport is built about 11 kilometers (25 minutes) away from the center of Golog town. So it is fairly accessible to the residents and tourists alike. 

Golog Maqin Airport is one of the highest airports in the world in terms of elevation
Golog Maqin Airport | Photo by chinadragontours.com

10. Inca Manco Capac International Airport

Next up! Situated at approximately 12,552 ft above sea level is an airport called the Inca Manco Capac International Airport of the country of Peru. It is also currently one of the oldest airports on this list, being built in the year 1959. 

This exceptional airport has a runway of 4,200 m and a passenger terminal covering more than 1,869 square meters! This airport is also relatively accessible from Puno City at about only 30 minutes away. Currently, the state-owned aviation company called CORPAC (Corporacion Peruana de Aeropuertos y Aviacion Comercial) takes care of the operations of the airport. 

Inca Manco Capac International Airport | Photo by dirt under creative commons

9. Yushu Batang Airport

Another Chinese airport on the list is the Yushu Batang Airport. This is considered the highest civilian airport of Qinghai Province in China towering at over 12,760 ft above sea level! Not only that, but the airport also has a 3,800-meter long runway and can serve up to 80,000 passengers per year. 

This airport played a crucial role in aiding the victims of the 2010 Yushu earthquake which registered a magnitude of 6.9 and killed almost 2,700 people. 

Yushu Batang Airport
Yushu Batang Airport | Photo by lycti.com

8. Captain Nicolas Rojas Airport

Number 8 on the list is a government-operated airport located in Potosi, Bolivia called the Captain Nicolas Rojas Airport. It has a staggering elevation of 12,922 ft above sea level! 

This airport also has one of the most challenging runways in the world which is located 4 km northeast of the city with mountainous terrain in the quadrants. 

Captain Nicolas Rojas Airport
Captain Nicolas Rojas Airport | Photo by boliviatravelsite.com

7. Uyuni Airport

Another Bolivian airport on the list is the Uyuni Airport, also known as the Joya Andina Airport, located in the southwestern Potosi department of Bolivia. This relatively small airport has an elevation of 12,024 ft above sea level and features Bolivia’s second-longest runway at 4,000 meters. 

Uyuni Airport is one of the youngest airports on the list at only 10 years old. It was inaugurated by Bolivian President Evo Morales on July 11, 2011, and currently serves two airlines, namely: Amaszonas and Boliviana de Aviacion. 

Uyuni Airport in Bolivia | Photo by ruta-patagonia.com

6. El Alto International Airport

Yet another airport located in Bolivia makes the list! El Alto International Airport is the highest commercial airport outside of China and the highest international airport in the world towering at an elevation of 13,325 ft above sea level. 

It is located in the city of El Alto serving the province of La Paz, Bolivia. This airport consists of two (2) runways: one 4,000-meter asphalt runway and one 2,050-meter grass runway. 

El Alto has been in service since the early 1900s but was renovated and then inaugurated in 1965. Until 2007, the airport has been catering Bolivia’s flag carrier called the Lloyd Aereo Boliviano. 

El Alto International Airport | Photo by Russland345 under creative commons

5. Garze Gesar Airport

This is the fifth airport in China with an elevation above 4,000 meters. Garze Gesar Airport is towering at an elevation of 13,345 ft above sea level and has a runway with a length of 4,000 m. It is also considered one of the youngest airports on the list which only opened on September 16, 2019. 

Garze Gesar is designed to serve 150,000 passengers annually mainly from the Garze County, Sichuan Province of China. 

Garze Gesar Airport | Photo by chinanews.com

4. Ngari Gunsa Airport

The 4th highest airport in the world is located yet again in China, located in the southwestern part of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. The airport skies at 14,022 ft above sea level. It also consists of a 4,500-meter long asphalt runway expected to serve at least 120,000 passengers a year. 

Ngari Gunsa is a dual-use military and civil airport. It finished construction in the year 2010 with an estimated budget of $242 Million. This airport, together with five (5) others and a network of railways and roads is expected to boost tourism to the scenic and mesmerizing holy sites located in Tibet in the future!

Ngari Gunsa Airport | Photo by Phurbu Gyatso/WeChat account of the Ngari Tourism Bureau

3. Kangding Airport

Number 3 on the list is the Kangding Airport towering at an elevation of 14,042 ft above sea level. Yup, you guessed it right. It is located yet again, in China. It serves the city of Kangding, the capital of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Region in Sichuan Province. The spectacular 4,000-meter runway is made up of concrete. 

It can also be said that Kangding is one of the youngest airports on the list which only started its operations in the year 2009. 

Kangding Airport | Photo by Xinhuanet/Yang Lina

2. Qamdo, Bamda Airport

The second highest airport in the world is located in the province of Qamdo, China. The airport stands tall at an elevation of 14,219 ft above sea level and currently features a Grooved Asphalt runway with a length of 4,500 meters. Before the runway renovations took place in 2007 and 2013, Qamdo featured an incredible 5,500-meter runway! Sadly, it has been closed due to weather decay. 

Qamdo, Bamda Airport has long been reigning as the world’s highest airport until 2013 when the next one on the list finished its construction. 

Qamdo, Bamda Airport is one of the highest airports in the world
Qamdo, Bamda Airport | Photo by Rat2 under creative commons

1. Daocheng Yading Airport

At last, number 1 on the list and currently holding the title of the highest airport in the world is Daocheng Yading Airport. It is located at an incredible elevation of 14,472 ft above sea level. Just like what we’ve mentioned earlier, the airport was inaugurated in the year 2013 with a whopping budget of $255 Million. 

Daocheng Yading features a single runway that is 4,200-meters long and 45 meters wide. It also consists of a 54,000 square feet terminal shaped like a flying saucer with two aerobridges which is truly a sight to see. The airport expects to handle more than 280,000 passengers per year. 

The construction of Daocheng Yading airport helped cut the journey between Daocheng and Chengdu to one hour, which previously took around a two-day bus trip. 

Daocheng Yading Airport is the highest civilian airport in the world in terms of elevation
Daocheng Yading Airport | Photo by chinadiscovery.com

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