Nepal to name Everest airport after Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay

KATMANDU, Nepal: Nepal plans to name the only airport in the Mount Everest region after the first two men to reach the world's highest peak more than five decades ago, a government minister said Tuesday.

Tourism Minister Prithvi Gurung said the government was planning to name the airport at Lukla as Tenzing-Hillary airport after Sir Edmund Hillary and his climbing partner, Tenzing Norgay, who scaled the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953.

Lukla airport, situated at 2,800 meters (feet), serves as the gateway for thousands of trekkers and mountaineers going to the Everest region.

Gurung was speaking a memorial ceremony held by the Trekking Agents' Association of Nepal in Katmandu on Tuesday.

He said there were also other proposals to establish an annual award in Hillary's name and also name the trekking route in the Everest region as the Tenzing-Hillary trekking route.

Hillary, a New Zealand beekeeper who became one of the 20th century's most famous explorers, died Friday of a heart attack at age 88.

His death has been mourned in Nepal, where he spent much time helping the people in the foothills of the world's highest mountain.

Following his famous climb, Hillary returned to Nepal several times and founded the Himalayan Trust, which has built 27 schools, two hospitals and 12 clinics around Mount Everest.

Thousands of people have benefited from the trust's projects, and the Sherpa community reveres Hillary as a result.

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