China to open fifth airport in Tibet

Xigaze Peace Airport, located in Xigaze Prefecture, 48 km from Xigaze City, is 3,782 meters above sea level.The sprawling prefecture shares its land links with Nepal, Indian and Bhutan borders.

China has also recently began construction work to extend the world's highest rail link connecting Tibet's provincial capital Lhasa to Xigaze, the home of successive Panchen Lamas, the second most Tibetan spiritual Buddhist leader.

The prefecture is also famous for its proximity to Mt Everest (knows as Qomolangma in Tibet) which virtually rises up from it.

The airport terminals, decor, facilities and flight tests were completed, allowing it to officially open in early November, Zhu Feng, secretary of the airport's Communist Party of China (CPC) branch was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua newsagency.

However, Zhu said, no exact date had yet been set for the opening.Its construction, with an investment of USD 74 million began on April 29 last year.

The airport is expected to handle 230,000 passengers and 1,150 tonnes of cargo by 2020, according to the Civil Aviation Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region.Tibet has four other civil airports in Lhasa, Nyingchi, Qamdo and Ngari.

In the past five years, China has invested heavily in building transport infrastructure in Tibet, including construction of highways, railways and airports to stimulate Tibet's weak economy and tourism.

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