Air China has conducted a validation flight to the new Ali Kunsha Airport in western Tibet, in preparation for the site's opening.

It operated the flight with an Airbus A319 twin-jet.

The aircraft used a required navigation performance (RNP-AR) procedure to carry out the approach to the airport which is located at an elevation of 4,274m (14,022ft).

Air China performed the flight under a joint programme with Airbus, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, and Airbus' newly-established specialised navigation arm Quovadis.

Airbus says the validation flight to Ali Kunsha Airport was "essential" for the site's operations.

It adds that the A319 will be the first aircraft type to perform services to the high-altitude airport, which is some 200km northwest of Mount Kailash, a peak considered sacred.

The Ali region is remote and the airport lies on a plateau, in the vicinity of some of the world's highest terrain, requiring precision navigation to access.

CAAC vice-minister Wang Changshun says the test flight "helps further strengthen our confidence in the smooth operation of the airport".

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news