Officials in Wushan County in southwest China wanted to build an airport in their area to increase tourism to the Goddess Peak and Little Three Gorges, breathtaking canyons that meet the Yangtze River. The problem is that Wushan County is very mountainous and doesn’t have any flatlands for an airport. So Wushan County made their own flatlands — on top of a mountain.
Engineers blew up the mountaintop to make way for a new airport. Workers flattened the mountaintop by using dynamite. Voilà! Blowing up the top of Taohua Mountain to make a level area has been difficult and it has taken six years for workers to build the single-runway that is 8,530 feet long and 147 feet wide. During the busiest construction period, there was as many as 2,000 builders and 800 machines working at the same time.
Besides the one runway, the domestic airport will have one terminal and one tarmac for five aircraft. Wushan Airport is a five-hour drive from the massive city of Chongqing that has a population of 30 million. The Wushan Airport will cost $250 million and construction should be completed by the end of June and open up for business in 2019 with flights to major Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chongqing. By 2020, Wushan Airport is estimated to handle 3,333 landings and takeoffs annually, 280,000 passengers, and 1,200 tons of freight.
The airport is 5,900-feet above sea level which saves some time elevating to the airplane’s cruising altitude, but landing a plane in a mountain range must be nerve-racking. To get an idea of what it will look like to fly out of Wushan Airport, here’s a video of Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Nepal, named the most extreme airport in the world. No thanks.