To promote tourism in the Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibet Airlines has just announced that it plans to add 18 new routes to its summer schedule. With the introduction of the new flights, Tibet Airlines is hoping to attract Chinese visitors by offering more options when it comes to air travel.
According to China Daily, the all-Airbus airline wants to provide tourists with more options when it comes to visiting the Himalayas during the summertime.
Tibet’s airport: one of the highest in the world
Tibet Airlines is based at Lhasa Gonggar Airport (LXA), at the height of 4,200 meters (13,800 ft) above sea level. The new routes will link Tibet’s capital Lhasa with Kunming, Dali and Lijiang in Yunnan Province, Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan Province, Xiamen in Fujian Province, and Xining in Qinghai Province.
Because of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan that forced a shut down over the Chinese New Year holiday, this year’s summer schedule will operate from May 3 to October 24. During this period, Tibet Airlines plans to conduct a total of 66 routes.
The director of the regional tourism department, Wang Songping has admitted that the coronavirus pandemic that had parts of China in a lockdown severely hurt tourism in the Himalayan nation. Now that things are somewhat returning to normal after the coronavirus abated, the autonomous region is starting to see a return of travelers to Tibet.
Extra revenue for Tibet
Focused primarily on its rural areas, Tibet is hoping that the new airline routes will help boost the income of the local population. Even though things are nearly back to normal, touristic sites like the indoor Potala Palace remain closed to the public. At the same time, outdoor natural scenic attractions such as Lake Namtso are open for everyone to enjoy.
Before the coronavirus had such a dramatic dampening of travel plans for many, Tibet had a bumper 2019 with over 40 million tourists from China and abroad visiting the region. This was an increase of 19% on the previous year and generated ¥55.92 billion ($7.89 billion) in extra revenue, according to local authorities.
About Tibet Airlines
Established in 2010, Tibet Airlines has its headquarters at Lhasa Gonggar Airport (LXA) around 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the Tibetan capital. Famous for its high altitude operations, Tibet Airlines offers regularly scheduled flights to most provinces in China along with direct non-stop flights to both Beijing and Shanghai. According to the aviation website Planespotters Tibet operates a fleet of all-airbus jets with an average age of just 4.3 years.
Tibet Airlines’ fleet is made up of the following aircraft:
- 21 Airbus A319-100s
- 6 Airbus A320-200s
- 5 Airbus A330-200s
As well as its own operations, Tibet Airlines also owns a minority stake (49%) in Himalaya Airlines, a Nepalese company based at Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) in Kathmandu. Founded in 2014 as a joint venture between the Yeti World Investment Group and Tibet Airlines, Himalayan Airlines began operations with a single Airbus A320 in May of 2016. Today the airline operates a fleet of four Airbus aircraft.