-  Saturday 24 October 2020

Nepal plans to name airport after Hillary and Tenzing

 -  Reuters

Kathmandu, Jan 16 2008 - Nepal plans to name an airport in the remote Everest region after pioneering climbers Sir Edmund Hillary, who died last week, and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, a minister said on Wednesday.

Tourism Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung said he would also propose to the cabinet that Nepal mark the day the pair climbed the world's highest mountain as Everest day.

New Zealand's Hillary, who died last week at the age of 88, and Nepal's Tenzing Norgay, who passed away in 1986 at the age of 72, climbed the 8,850 metre (29,035 feet) Everest summit on May 29, 1953.

That feat opened up impoverished Nepal to the world as a popular destination for mountain climbing and trekking. Tourism now accounts for four percent of its GDP.

"I will propose in the cabinet that Lukla airport be renamed as Tenzing-Hillary airport in their honour," said Gurung.

Hillary built the remote hilly airstrip in the 1960s at Lukla, clinging to a hillside several days walk from the base camp at Mount Everest and is described by mountaineers as a thrilling start to an attempt on the mountain's south face.

"The choppers and small airplanes are often overloaded, vintage crafts balancing through the thin air and erratic winds of Himalaya," the mountaineering Web site mounteverest.net said in a 2005 Weblog. "And - let's face it - they crash."

Gurung said he would also propose May 29 be observed as Everest day every year.

"Had they not climbed Everest no one would have known Nepal. They have made a very big contribution to Nepal's tourism and mountaineering," he said.

Source : Reuters

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