(TibetanReview.net, Jun13, 2018) – The three new airports China is to begin building next year in Tibet Autonomous Region are hubs of major economic activities marked by large scale tourism development and influx of immigrants from China. These airports will be built in Lhunze county of Lhokha city; Dingri County in Shigatse city; and Burang county in Ngari prefecture, reported China’s official chinadaily.com.cn Jun 12, citing Mr Pedron, head of the Tibet Civil Aviation Administration, at a Jun 8 meeting in Lhasa.
Lhunze, located just across India’s border state of Arunachal Pradesh, is the place where China is carrying out large-scale mining for gold and other mineral ores. Though entry to this military controlled site is strictly controlled, it is said to have seen a massive influx of new immigrants from across China.
Dingri is known as the county in which Mt Everest is located.
And Burang (Tibetan: Purang) is the location of Mt Kailash, which is sacred not only to Tibet’s Buddhists and pre-Buddhists Bonists but also to the Hindus and Jains in India and other countries.
China has been developing both Dingri and Burang as major tourist destinations.
The report said construction of the airports – all at altitudes above 3,900 metres – will be completed by 2022.
Also, the Lhasa Gonggar International Airport will be expanded to add a second runway, with the project expected to be completed by 2020.
About eight domestic and international air routes will be added through these new airports, reported the official globaltimes.cn Jun 10, citing people.cn Jun 9. The Lhasa airport was reported to have received more than 4.5 million passengers through 41,299 flights in 2017.
The report said these four projects, known as the “3+1” project, were part of the five key projects supported by China’s civil aviation authority during the 13th Five-year Plan Period (2016-20). The five projects were stated to represent a total investment of about 16.7 billion yuan ($2.6 billion). It did not say what the fifth project was.
“Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, central government departments … have placed high priority on civil aviation development in Tibet,” Wu Yingjie, the region’s Party chief, was quoted as saying during the Lhasa meeting.