Very few planes fly over Tibet. This region is in a remote part of China. It shares the border with India, Nepal and Bhutan. And it’s very sparsely populated. The density is only three inhabitants per square kilometer. It’s not the only reason. Why do planes avoid Tibet?
High altitude, little oxygen
There are only a few airports that can accommodate passenger planes. Rare air in this area is a major problem. The Beijing-Tibet Railway runs at an altitude of between four and five kilometers. For this reason, trains provide passengers with the necessary amount of oxygen.
There are several reasons why most planes do not fly over the Tibetan plateau. The most important has to do with the imminent pressure relief of the aircraft. In this scenario, airplanes dispense oxygen masks. Meanwhile, the pilots begin their descent to 2,400 meters above sea level.
Herein lies the great problem of the Tibetan plateau. Heights in the area reach 5,000 meters. In an emergency, it is not possible for an aircraft to descend to the safe altitude. If you try it just crashes.
Another major obstacle to flying over the Tibetan plateau is the mountains. An emergency landing does not take place on flat terrain. In addition, there are only a few airports. What would happen in an emergency? It would take the pilots long minutes to reach one of them. The Chinese authorities are planning three more airports in the area.
There is one other thing. Aircraft flying over the plateau may need to be exposed to high levels of turbulence. This worries passengers. So the airlines are taking different routes.
Is it now clear why planes avoid Tibet? Adverse circumstances often led to tragedy. The climax took place during World War II. More than 1,500 people died and nearly 600 aircraft were lost during that time. Compared to the supposedly mysterious disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle, the incidents on the Tibetan plateau prove to be far more deadly.