China begins construction of 7th airport in Tibet

China has began building an airport in north western Qinghai province, the birth place of the Dalai Lama.

Last Updated: Dec 31, 2011, 15:45 PM IST

Beijing: China has began building an airport
in north western Qinghai province, the birth place of the
Dalai Lama, which will be seventh in the remote Tibetan
plateau.

Qinghai province is located next to Tibet Autonomous
Region, as well as Xinjiang and Gansu provinces.

The new airport will link the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau closer
with the country`s inland areas, news agency
reported today.

Two more airports would come up in the region before 2020,
an official said.

Huatugou Airport, in the Mongolian-Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture of Haixi in Qinghai province, is one of three new
regional airports to be built in Qinghai before 2020, Yang
Yang, deputy chief of the provincial development and reform
commission.

Construction of the 700-million yuan (USD 111 million)
airport will be completed by the end of 2013, and the civilian
airport will start operation in June 2014, Yang said.

The news of the construction of the airport in Qinghai
followed announcement on December 27 that an airport was being
built at the world highest altitude at Nagqu prefecture in
Tibet.

The airport, planned at an altitude of 4,436 meters will
be 102 meters higher than Bamda Airport in Tibet`s Qamdo
prefecture, currently the world`s highest.
The airport will be six in the Tibetan plateau.
China so far built five airports in Tibet. The other
airports included Gonggar, Lhasa, Bamda, Xigaze and Ngari,
close to Indian border.

The rapid pace of the development air infrastructure in
Tibet coupled with rail and road development raised concerns
in India as it provide massive advantage to China to move its
troops and equipment overcoming the geographical problems in
the remote region of the world.

Following this, India too stepped its infrastructure
development along the Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh regions.

Meanwhile, the planned Huatugou Airport will have a
3,600-mt long runway and will handle flights to the provincial
capital of Xining, the cities of Golmud and Delingha in
Qinghai, the city of Dunhuang in neighboring Gansu Province,
and Korla in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

By 2020, the airport will handle 90,000 passenger trips
annually.

The airport, at an altitude of 2,945 meters, is located in
a resource-rich region at the juncture of Qinghai and
Xinjiang.

It is close to a major crude oil production base.
"The new airport will provide stronger logistic support
for exploiting natural resources," said Cheng Zhuzu, executive
vice president of China West Airport Group.

PTI