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China airport near Mt Everest to be ready by Oct

world Updated: Apr 12, 2010 16:41 IST

The Chinese have said that a new airport, built near the world's tallest peak Mount Everest, in Xighaze, Tibet will be operational in October this year.

The airport being constructed at the cost of USD 71.7 million is expected to boost tourism to Xigaze where the Tashilhunpo Monastery, headed by the Chinese appointed 11th Panchen Lama, Gyaincain Norbu, is located.

Construction of the Peace Airport in Xigaze prefecture began in April last year. It will be completed in September making its opening in October feasible, said Xu Bo, director of the Civil Aviation Administration's Tibet Branch.

The airport will handle 230,000 passengers and 1,150 tonnes of cargo. It will allow 2,580 take-offs and landings annually by 2020, state run Xinhua news agency reported.

The project will boost investment and tourism in Xigaze, the second largest city in Tibet.

Xigaze is home to a group of ancient temples and the world's highest peak, Mount Qomolangma or Mount Everest, in Dingri county. This will be the fifth civil airport in Tibet, after those in Lhasa, Qamdo, Nyingchi and Ngari.

Tibet also plans to build the world's highest airport at an altitude of 4,436 meters in Nagqu Prefecture.

China in recent years beefed up infrastructure in Tibet, connecting it to the mainland by road, rail and air. This raised concerns in India that this network of connectivity provided tactical advantage to China to deploy its troops at the borders in a short time.

The Chinese modernisation drive also prompted India to beef up its infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh.