Ngari Gunsa Airport

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Ngari Günsa Airport


Ālǐ Kūnshā Jīchǎng
Airport typeMilitary/Public
LocationGar Chongsar, Günsa Township, Ngari Prefecture, Tibet
Elevation AMSL4,274 m / 14,022 ft
Coordinates32°06′31″N 80°03′10″E / 32.10861°N 80.05278°E / 32.10861; 80.05278Coordinates: 32°06′31″N 80°03′10″E / 32.10861°N 80.05278°E / 32.10861; 80.05278
NGQ is located in Tibet
Location of airport in Tibet
Direction Length Surface
m ft
4,500 14,764 Asphalt
Ngari Gunsa Airport
Simplified Chinese阿里昆莎机场

Ngari Günsa Airport (IATA: NGQ, ICAO: ZUAL), also known as Shiquanhe Airport is a dual-use military and civil airport serving the town of Shiquanhe in Ngari Prefecture, between Gar Chongsar and Sogmai, Günsa Township, Ngari Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region. It started operations on 1 July 2010, becoming the fourth civil airport in Tibet after Lhasa, Nyingchi, and Qamdo airports.[2]

Situated at 4,274 m (14,022 ft) above sea level, Gunsa Airport is the fourth highest airport in the world after Daocheng Yading Airport, Qamdo Bamda Airport, and Kangding Airport.[3][4] Gunsa airport has a 4,500-meter runway. It is expected to handle 120,000 passengers by 2020. Construction began in May 2007 and cost an estimated 1.65 billion yuan (241.22 million U.S. dollars).[2]

As Shiquanhe (Ali) is only a one-day bus drive (about 330 km) from the settlement of Darchen situated just north of Lake Manasarovar, facing Mount Kailash,[5] it is expected to benefit pilgrims to these two sites, which are considered sacred by Hindus,[6] Buddhists, Bonpa and Jains.[7][8] With the opening of Shigatse Peace Airport in October 2010, the five airports, coupled with the Qinghai–Tibet railway and a network of roads, are expected to increase tourism to scenic and holy sites in Tibet.[6]

Military buildup[edit]

Since the last major standoff between China and India at Doklam in 2017 military presence at the Ngari Gunsa Airport has been expanded with Shenyang J-16s and J-11s fighter jets stationed. The airport is 200 kilometres from Pangong Tso, Ladakh.[9][10]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


China Eastern Airlines Kashgar, Xi'an
Lucky Air Kashgar, Urumqi
Tibet Airlines Lhasa, Xi'an

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 阿里昆莎机场 Archived 2012-04-04 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Tibet's fourth civil airport opens Archived 2010-12-14 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ The world’s third highest airport opens with milestone Airbus A319 flight Archived 2014-12-04 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ 西藏阿里昆莎机场迎来首航 为世界海拔第三高
  5. ^ Mayhew and Kohn (2005), p. 209.
  6. ^ a b "Pilgrims to benefit from new Tibet Airport near Mt Kailash."
  7. ^ Albinia (2008), p. 288,
  8. ^ Gyurme (199), p. 36.
  9. ^ Chan, Minnie (2020-06-04). "China flexing military muscle in border dispute with India". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2020-06-04.
  10. ^ "China starts construction activities near Pangong Lake amid border tensions with India". Business Today. 27 May 2020. Retrieved 2020-06-05.


  • Albinia, Alice. (2008) Empires of the Indus: The Story of a River. First American Edition (2010) W. W. Norton & Company, New York. ISBN 978-0-393-33860-7.
  • Dorje, Gyurme. (2009) Tibet Handbook. Footprint Handbooks, Bath, England. ISBN 978-1-906098-32-2.
  • Mayhew, Bradley and Kohn, Michael. (2005) Tibet. 6th Edition. ISBN 1-74059-523-8.