|Tibet's 5th Civil Airport Begins Operations|
A plane of Air China lands at Xigaze Airport in Xigaze, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, on Oct. 30, 2010. Xigaze Airport opened Saturday, marking the launching of the fifth civil airport in Tibet. (Xinhua/Yi Shizhong)
LHASA, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- A civil airport in Xigaze City in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region began operations Saturday.
An Air China Airbus 319 landed at Xigaze Peace Airport in Jiangdang Township at 9:50 a.m., marking the airport's formal opening.
The plane took off from Chengdu, capital city of neighboring Sichuan Province, and stopped at Lhasa before flying to Xigaze.
The airport, located 3,782 meters above sea level, is the fifth airport in Tibet. The others are in Lhasa, Nyingchi, Qamdo and Ngari.
Construction began on the 532 million yuan (79.7 million U.S. dollars) airport in April last year.
The area of the terminal is 4,500 square meters. Some 230,000 passengers and 1,150 tonnes of cargo are expected to pass through it each year by 2020, said Xu Bo, chief of the Civil Aviation Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region.
Over the past five years, China has poured over 70 billion yuan into Tibet for 188 projects to boost the regional economy and promote tourism. Most of the projects were for infrastructure.