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China Southern Airlines starts flight to Lhasa
( 2003-07-30 15:33) (Xinhua)

China Southern Airlines began its maiden flight to Lhasa this week, becoming the second Chinese airlines operating flights to Lhasa.

The event also means that China Southern Airlines has realized its goal of flying to all provinces on the mainland.

The regular flights to Lhasa, with a stopover at Diqing in Yunnan, will greatly broaden the company's network, connecting Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau with Tibet, according to officials with the airlines.

Rights to the route used to be solely owned by China Southwest airline company and tourists had to transfer via Chengdu.

As China's aviation industry completed reforms, Southwest was merged into Air China and the route was then owned by Air China Southwest Company.

The entry of the second airline opened up competition and now some other airline companies are applying for rights to fly to Tibet.

When China Southern Airlines bought China's first Boeing 757 aircraft in 1986, it operated a test flight from Lhasa to Chengdu.

In recent years, the tourism industry in southwest China has developed rapidly, guaranteeing high occupancy rates and stable ticket prices in the high season.

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