Construction started after the airport was approved in April 2011, with a total investment of 1.58 billion yuan (US$255 million). The airport was opened on 16 September 2013. The inaugural flight was Air China flight 4215 on an Airbus A319 from the provincial capital Chengdu, carrying 118 passengers. The opening of the airport cut the journey time between Daocheng and Chengdu to one hour, which previously required a two-day bus trip.
Daocheng Yading Airport has a single runway that is 4,200 m (13,800 ft) long and 45 m (148 ft) wide (class 4C). It has a 5,000 m2 (54,000 sq ft) terminal building that is shaped like a UFO. It is designed to handle 280,000 passengers per year.