China plans to operationalise its fourth civilian airport in Tibet in Ngari Prefecture, close to India, next year as part of the efforts to boost infrastructure facilities in the strategic Himalayan region.
The Gunsa Airport in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region is expected to start operation on July 1, 2010, to become the fourth civil airport on the "Roof of the World", local officials said.
The parking apron, its 4,500-metre-long runway as well as meteorological radars have been completed, said Hu Jinfa, head of the airport project headquarters.
The airport, more than 4,000 meters above sea level, will have an annual throughput capacity of 120,000 passengers by 2020. Test flights were conducted successfully from October 13 to 18, Hu said.
Construction began in May 2007 and is expected to cost 1.647 billion yuan (241.22 million US dollars), Xinhua news agency reported from Lhasa, the regional capital.
Gunsa Airport is located in a relatively flat area compared with other airports in Tibet, Hu said.
Ngari sits 4,500 metres above sea level in the northwest of Tibet, 1,600 kilometres from Lhasa. The airport will help facilitate exchanges of personnel and logistics between Ngari and other places, said Dawa Tashi, the prefecture head.
The other airports in Tibet are Gonggar Airport in Lhasa, Bamda Airport in Qamdo Prefecture and Nyingchi Airport.