Boeing, China Show 767 Ready For High Tibet Airport

SEATTLE - The Boeing Co.'s commercial airplane group said it had demonstrated altitude performance capabilities of its 271-seat 767 twinjet, which took off, circled and landed at Lhasa, Tibet, on just one engine.

Lhasa's recently upgraded Gongga Airport is one of the world's highest and most challenging airports, at an altitude of 11,621 feet. It sits in a box canyon surrounded by peaks more than 16,400 feet high.

The demonstration flight was under control of Boeing chief pilot John Armstrong and senior instructor pilot Roger Thompson and had Civil Aviation Administration of China flight safety and airworthiness staff on board.

CAAC and Boeing successfully demonstrated the smaller, narrow-body 757 twinjet at Lhasa on March 19, 1991, after which China Southwest Airlines switched from 707 service to the 757, improving costs on its Chengdu-Lhasa route.

But Boeing said Lhasa has become such a popular tourist destination that China Southwest is evaluating the larger 767, which was developed simultaneously with the 757.