Print This Page Email This Page
Construction Starts on World's Second Highest Airport

Construction began on Thursday on what will be the world's second highest airport in Kangding, a predominantly Tibetan region in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The airport will stand 4,280 meters above sea level, second in height only to the airport in Qamdo, Tibet. The airport in Qamdo is 4334 meters above sea level.

With a budget of 960 million yuan (about US$120 million), the new airport will have a 4,000-meter-long runway and will be capable of handling planes such as the Boeing 737-700 series and Airbus 319s, according to Wu Hesheng, general manager of the Zhongnan Airports Construction Corporation, builder of the Kangding airport.

Plans for the airport were first drawn up 13 years ago but the go-ahead for the construction by the state was only given last May. It will begin service in 2008 and is designed to handle 330,000 passengers and 1,980 tons of cargo and mail annually.

Its location is deep in the sprawling mountains in western Sichuan and because of its high altitude, workers will have to tackle a range of problems such as frozen earth, said Fan Yongzheng, general manager of Kangding Airport Company.

Situated between the Dadu and Yalong rivers, both tributaries of the Yangtze River, Kangding boasts rich mineral, water and tourism resources and serves as the seat of Sichuan's Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze.

Due to its rough terrain and high altitudes the western region of Sichuan was notorious for being difficult to access in ancient times.

Li Bai, a famed poet from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), wrote that traveling in Shu State (present-day Sichuan Province) was more difficult than going to the heaven.

"Upon completion of the new airport, a corridor in the air will be formed in western Sichuan, people will be able to travel in and out of Garze more easily and all the natural barriers that have restricted local economic development will be gone," said Yi Fan, deputy leader of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefectural Government.

As China continues with its western development campaign, more investment has poured into improving infrastructure in the country's western regions.

Major projects completed this year alone include the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Line and Nyingchi Airport, the third civil airport in Tibet, which began operation last Friday.

(Xinhua News Agency September 8, 2006)

Related Stories

Print This Page Email This Page
'Tomorrow Plan' Helps Disabled Orphans
First Chinese Volunteers Head for South America
East China City Suspends Controversial Chemical Project Amid Pollution Fears
Second-hand Smoke a 'Killer at Large'
Private Capital Flows to Developing Countries Hit New Record in 2006
Survey: Most of China's Disabled Not Financially Independent

Product Directory
China Search
Country Search
Hot Buys