Construction starts at Tibet's 5th airport

30 April 2009

Construction started this week at the site of Tibet's fifth civil airport, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

The government is expected to invest CNY 480 million (US$ 70 million) in construction of the airport in Xigaze, Tibet's second-largest city, said the report, quoting Xu Bo, head of the Civil Aviation Administration's Tibet Branch.

Construction work on the Peace Airport, which is 3782 m above sea level, is expected to take two years.

The airport will handle 230000 passengers and 1150 tonnes of cargo and mail a year by 2020.

Quoting Xu Xueguang, secretary of Xigaze prefectural Party committee, the report said, "The civil airport will be an air corridor linking Xigaze with the outside world and inject new vigour into local social and economic development."

China is also building a 254 km-long railway linking Xigaze with the regional capital Lhasa. Construction of the CNY 11 billion (US$ 1.61 billion) Qinghai-Tibet railway's extension line started in 2008 and was expected to be completed in 2010.

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which runs 1956 km from Xining city in Qinghai province to Lhasa in Tibet, was officially put into operation in July 2006. It is the highest railway in the world and is Tibet's first ever railway.

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