Tibet Airlines To Launch Its Operations With The A319


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Tibet Airlines To Launch Its Operations With The A319

By Jim Douglas

August 23, 2010 - Lhasa-based Tibet Airlines has chosen the Airbus A319 to build up its fleet and is set to become Airbus’ newest customer in China. The airline, which obtained the approval of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) in March 2010, has signed a commitment to acquire three A319s.

The aircraft will be able to accommodate 128 passengers in a two-class configuration, with eight first class seats. The carrier plans to operate the A319s both on routes within the region and to major destinations across China.

High mountains make it extremely difficult to develop road traffic on the Tibetan plateau which is around 4000 meters in altitude on average. This makes it more efficient to travel by air in Tibet.


Thanks to its Required Navigation Performance (RNP) technology and expertise, Airbus is proud to note that over 80 percent of the commercial flights to and from Tibet are performed with Airbus aircraft, most of them being A319s with the rest being A330s. This commitment to acquire Airbus aircraft by the new carrier was marked by a ceremony in Lhasa with local officials, representatives of the CAAC, as well as executives of Tibet Airlines and of Airbus. Tibet Airlines first flights is due mid 2011.

“Air traffic will play a key role in the social and economic development of the Tibet Autonomous Region,” said Liu Yanping, General Manager of Tibet Airlines. “The proven high altitude flight performance of Airbus A319 was key in our intent to start our operations with this aircraft. In anticipation of the growing demand for air transport in the region, we are planning to expand our fleet to some 20 aircraft in the next five years,” he added.

“The high altitude performance of the Airbus A319 which has been proven by more than six years of commercial operations in and out of Lhasa and the RNP validation in 2007 makes the aircraft an ideal and natural choice for Tibet Airlines. We wish Tibet Airlines a prosperous future with our world’s leading aircraft,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer.


Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north of the Himalayas. It is home to the indigenous Tibetan people, and to some other ethnic groups such as Monpas and Lhobas, and is inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people. Tibet is the highest region on earth, with an average elevation of 4,900 metres (16,000 ft). It is sometimes referred to as the roof of the world.

During Tibet's history, it has existed as a region of separate sovereign areas, a unified empire and as a vassal under Chinese suzerainty or sovereignty. Tibet was first unified under King Songtsän Gampo in the 7th century. At various times from the 1640s until the 1950s, a government nominally headed by the Dalai Lamas, a line of spiritual political leaders, ruled a large portion of the Tibetan region.

Today, most of cultural Tibet is ruled as autonomous areas in the People's Republic of China. The economy of Tibet is dominated by subsistence agriculture, though tourism has become a growing industry in Tibet in recent decades. The dominant religion in Tibet is Tibetan Buddhism, though there are Muslim and Christian minorities. Tibetan Buddhism is a primary influence on the art, music, and festivals of the region. Tibetan architecture reflects Chinese and Indian influences. Staple foods in Tibet are roasted barley, yak meat, and butter tea.


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