(TibetanReview.net, Mar 13, 2009) — China said it would open for traffic the fourth civilian airport in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in 2011. The Ngari Airport is being built in the remote western Tibetan prefecture of Ngari, the source of several major rivers of Asia as well as Ghang Tise (Mount Kailash) and Tso Mapham (Lake Mansarovar) which are sacred to several major religions.
China’s official Xinhuanet Mar 11 quoted Dawa Tashi, deputy secretary and an administrative supervisory commissioner of prefectural Party committee, as saying: “The airport project, planned in 2006, has gone smoothly since it was launched in 2007. All the runways, terminals, staff apartments and public facilities were completed by the end of 2008. A trial operation is expected on July 1 next year and operation open officially in 2011.”
Dawa was further quoted as saying, “In the near future, we also want to make it one of the major national airports, from which routes to Lhasa, Chengdu (capital of Sichuan Province) and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region will be open.”
Air service will cut the duration of the journey from Lhasa to Ngari to two hours, compared to four days’ drive at present.