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November 4, 2009

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New airport will open in Tibet

GUNSA Airport in the Tibet Autonomous Region will open on July 1, becoming the fourth civil airport in the region, local authorities said yesterday.

The parking apron, its 4,500-meter-long runway as well as meteorological radars have been completed, said Hu Jinfa, head of the airport project headquarters.

The airport in Ngari Prefecture is more than 4,000 meters above sea level and will have an annual throughput capacity of 120,000 passengers by 2020. Test flights were conducted successfully from October 13 to 18, Hu said.

China Southwest Airlines will operate flights between Ngari and Lhasa, Tibet's capital, and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Construction began in May 2007 and is expected to cost 1.65 billion yuan (US$241.22 million).

Gunsa Airport is in a relatively flat area compared with other airports in Tibet, Hu said.

"Only five months every year are suitable for construction work because of altitude sickness," said Hu. "We took shifts to work around the clock in these five months."

Ngari sits in the northwest of Tibet, 1,600 kilometers from the Lhasa.

The other airports in Tibet are Gonggar Airport in Lhasa, Bamda Airport in Qamdo Prefecture and Nyingchi Airport.


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