There are still a few places where even our modern era transport systems cannot reach. Tibet is one of those regions where planes don’t fly even in this era. Here’s the real reason behind this fact:
Tibet is an autonomous region that sits in western China. It borders India to the west, Nepal to the southwest, and Myanmar and Bhutan to the southeast. Tibet is also bordered by the world’s two highest peaks- Mount Everest at 29,030 feet, and K2 at 28,250 feet. It is because of these towering mountains that Tibet was nicknamed the “Roof of the World”. All the planes are prevented from flying in this region because of its gargantuan plateau. Airlines have their own set of rules which don’t allow their aircraft to fly over such enormous plateaus. During World War II, flying over the Tibetan plateau was called “ Flying the Hump”
Presently, there are very few airports in the region- the most notable one being the Lhasa Gonggar Airport in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet autonomous region. If there is a medical emergency on board an aircraft flying over Tibet, there are no alternative airfields where the plane can land. Landing at Lhasa could be problematic for the passengers due to its elevation of 11,712 feet above sea level. It could pose a serious risk to ailing people to acclimatize with the elevation.
An average human can only breathe normally till the altitude of fewer than 10,000 feet. In the case of cabin decompression in an aircraft, the flight would have to descend lower than the heights of the mountains to keep the passengers breathing. Normally, the Oxygen masks in the aircraft only have about 20 minutes worth of Oxygen for each passenger. The time of 20 minutes is generally enough for the aircraft to descend below 10,000 feet, where there is breathable air. But even the “low” areas of Tibet are approximately above 10,000 feet. So, mostly all the commercial airline pilots are always excluded from flying planes over this place. Currently, the only airline to develop usable escape routes over Tibet is the Cathay Pacific. However, the number of flights from this airline is also very low.
Engine out drift down:
The procedure is another reason why planes don’t fly over the region. These are the set of instructions for pilots to follow if one of the plane’s engines goes out. All modern airplanes are designed to sustain the loss of one engine, but the plane must drift down to a lower altitude to keep flying. The measurement of this altitude is determined by the gross weight of the airplane. Over Tibet, that safe altitude for an average airplane might be even lower than that of the ground!
Clean air turbulence:
Such type of turbulence cannot be detected or foreseen by pilots. It is caused by eddies of air created when the airflow is disturbed by great mountains in areas that have strong winds, and where temperature inversions are common. If the airplane flies through clean air turbulence, it could pose a great risk for the lives onboard. According to the U.S. Federal Administration, clean air turbulence is the leading cause of injuries to passengers and flight attendants.
Balaji Viswanathan, a researcher who studied airplane profits, stated that another vital reason for the lack of air traffic over the Tibetan plateau has to do more with lack of needs than anything else. He also confirmed that despite India and China being neighboring countries, they do not have frequent flights between them. The two countries live in two very different cultural zones and there has never been an overlapping empire between them at any point in the past. Also, the major services between India and china avoid going over the Himalayas.
Get 30% OFF on Dynamic Website Design