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Tibet's third civil airport to start operation early next year
Updated: 2005-12-11 10:06

LHASA, December 11 (Xinhua) -- The third civil airport in China's Tibet Autonomous Region is expected to be operational after the Chinese Lunar New Year that falls in late January, 2006, authorities in charge of the airport construction said.

The General Administration of Civil Aviation of China will soon carry out a trial flight at the Nyingchi Airport, whose construction has entered final stage, said Zhou Meng, chief engineer at the airport's construction headquarters.

With a 3,000-meter-long runway, the airport, 400 kilometers from Tibet's regional capital Lhasa, is expected to have an annual passenger flow of 120,000.

"We have finished building the runway, control tower and terminal building and are busy with system installation and testing," said Zhou.

Construction of the Nyingchi Airport started in October 2004 and cost 780 million yuan (96 million US dollars). The airport is located at 2,954 meters above sea level, lower than the other two civil airports in Lhasa and Qamdo.

"Its low altitude will make Nyingchi an ideal first stop for tourists to gradually adapt themselves to Tibet's highland climate and minimize the harms of low oxygen," said Zhou.

Nyingchi Prefecture, covering 117,000 square kilometers and bordering India and Myanmar, is known for its humid and mild weather, beautiful landscape and rich natural resources.

About 120 kilometers from the Nyingchi Airport is Yarlung Zangbo River Grand Canyon, the world's largest canyon that is often referred to as the last secret land yet to be explored by human beings.

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