The Highest Airports in the World

  • Lukla, Nepal Highest Airports in the World

I love airports and love interesting stats so I was curious to know, what are the highest airports in the world? I originally thought that the highest airport in the world was in Tibet because I just assumed. Well it turns out that there are several higher airports!

So instead of just sharing the number 1 highest, I thought I would share with you the top 13 highest airports in the world. Why 13? Well it turns out that the top 13 highest airports in the world are all above 10,000 feet. I was disappointed to learn that I have not landed at an airport above 10,000 feet.  But I have landed at 9,383 ft at Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lhasa, Nepal, which is currently the 17th highest airport in the world. So now a list of the highest airports in the world!


 +10,000 ft


10,682 ft

Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, India

Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport

The 13th highest airport is located in Leh, India. Flights must land and take-off during the morning because of the mountain winds. Flights to the highest airport in India are only offered from a few other Indian cities.

10,860 ft

Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, Peru

Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport

The 12th highest airport is essential for tourists traveling to the city of Cusco, Peru but has a limited capacity due to its location of the city. Flights can be cancelled for days at a time due to bad weather and only has a maximum of 5 gates.


+11,000 ft


11,299 ft

Andahuaylas Airport, Peru

Andahuaylas Airport

The 11th highest airport in the world is Andahuaylas Airport. It is the only airport in the Apurímac region and directly serves the city of Andahuaylas. The region is hard to get to as there is only 2 daily flights from Lima and has cancellations all the time.

11,312 ft

Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport, China

Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport

The 10th highest airport in the world serves two scenic regions, Huanglong and Jiuzhaigou. Incase you have altitude sickness, you can be treated with some Tibetan herbal tea and small canisters of oxygen. Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport is only serviced by a couple of Chinese cities.

11,713 ft

Lhasa Gonggar Airport, Tibet, China

Lhasa Gonggar Airport

The 9th highest airport in the world is Lhasas’ Gonggar Airport. This airport is one of the few airports in the Tibetan region and connects many tourist to Tibet. Most flights are scheduled for the morning and this airport is able to handle international traffic. Many tourists must fly from Kathmandu, Nepal due to government restrictions.


+12,000 ft


12,408 ft

Shigatse Peace Airport, Tibet, China

Shigatse Peace Airport

The 8th highest airport use to be a military base but now operates as both a landing strip for the military as well as for civilians. It’s an up and coming airport that will probably prove important to tourists traveling to Tibet, if they can get in.

12,552 ft

Inca Manco Cápac International Airport, Peru

Inca Manco Cápac International Airport

The 7th highest airport in the world is located near Lake Titicaca and the Bolivian border. Despite being listed as an international airport, currently Inca Manco Cápac is only served from other Peruvian cities. It has one of the longest runways in South America.

12,762 ft

Yushu Batang Airport, China

Yushu Batang Airport

The 6th highest airport is Yushu Batang Airport located in the Qinghai Province. During the Earthquake in 2010, the airport was important in helping out the relief effort.


+13,000 ft


13,323 ft

El Alto International Airport, Bolivia

El Alto International Airport

The 5th highest airport in the world is El Alto International Airport servicing Boliva’s capital La Paz. It holds a couple of distinctions like being the highest international airport, the highest airport in South America and the only airport to be in the 13,000 ft range. It also has one of the longest runways in the world because of the altitude.


+14,000 ft


14,022 ft

Ngari Gunsa Airport, Tibet, China

Ngari Gunsa Airport

The 4th highest airport in the world is located in the extreme western part of Tibet, near the border of India. The Chinese wanted to build an airport so that tourists and locals can have a quicker option getting into Tibet. However it is still extremely tough region for tourists to get into.

14,042 ft

Kangding Airport, China

Kangding Airport

The 3rd highest airport is in Kangding, Sichuan, China near the famous fake “Shangri-la” and Yunnan. Although not officially in the region of Tibet, the region is almost exclusively inhabited by Tibetans. This airport will prove to be more important as many tourist love to visit Yunnan for the landscape and culture.

14,219 ft

Qamdo Bamda Airport, Tibet, China

Qamdo Bamda Airport

The 2nd highest airport in the world is also one of the most remote airports. The nearest city is Qambo, which is still 2.5 hours away, as there is no closer flat land. Visitors are warned to leave the plane slowly and that they may feel light-headed and dizzy. The runway is about 3.5 miles long or almost 14,000 feet.

14,472 ft

Daocheng Yading Airport, China

Daocheng Yading Airport

This highest airport in the world, at 14,472 ft, is Daocheng Yading Airport in Sichuan, China, also known as the Shangri-la of China. however this is not the true Shangri-la and was only renamed by the Chinese in attempt to draw tourism. It only recently opened up in 2013 and serves flights from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. When it opened it cut the bus ride from Daocheng to Chengdu from 2 days to just 1 hour. The region is also a gateway into Tibet and could be a popular route for tourists although it’s very tough to get in now. It has also been said that it was only made to shortened travel time and make it easier to send troops to the region in the event of unrest.


However, there is a new airport being built and it will be the new highest airport in the world…

14,554 ft

Nagqu Dagring Airport, Tibet, China


It will be the highest airport in the world and by then China will have 4/5ths of its country within 90 minutes of an airport. It will also bring people closer to the Himalayas and the Tibetan Grasslands. It is set to open in 2015.




images by: janchipchase, national geographic, yourtravel, cfguide, mark, landofsnows, panoramio, marc, airport-technology, geolocationAgainErick, travel-china, caffeineAM, perutravelguide, shawnvoyage

By | 2015-05-08T09:10:09+00:00 April 10th, 2014|