World's Highest-altitude Airport Planned on Tibet
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China will set a new record for the world's highest airport with an airport planned at an altitude of 4,436 meters, the regional civil aviation director announced Tuesday.
Xu Bo, director of the Tibetan Branch of the China Civil Aviation Administration, said the airport, planned for Nagqu Prefecture, would be 102 meters higher than Bamda Airport in Tibet's Qamdo Prefecture, which has been the world's highest airport since its completion in 1994.
Xu Jian, director of the Nagqu Committee of Development and Reform, said construction of the airport had been included in the Tibet's development plan. The committee was working on site selection for the airport.
"The airport construction is planned for 2011 with a construction period of three years. It is expected to cost 1.8 billion yuan (US$263 million) and cover an area of 233 to 266 hectares," he said.
He said this airport, the sixth in Tibet, would be named Nagqu Dagring Airport, after the area of its expected location.
Xu said all of Tibet's six prefectures would have an airport on its completion.
"The civil aviation network in Tibet has taken shape. The objective for the next stage of development is to open direct air routes from Tibet to south Asian countries," he said.
Nagqu, about 300 km from Lhasa, capital of Tibet, is located in the center of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The predominantly Tibetan populated prefecture has a population of 400,000.
Nagqu was chosen to host the largest logistics center in the plateau region, which began operations in August last year.
"With the airport, Nagqu, which is also on the Qinghai-Tibet railway line, is expected to become the center of an economic hub in the plateau region," said Tan Yongshou, commissioner of Nagqu Prefecture.
(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2010)