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74 airports to be built in western China
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2007-03-16 14:29

The General Administration of Civil Aviation announced recently that during the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-10), 37 new airports will be built in western China, 6 will be moved and 31 expanded. This will allow more and more Chinese to travel west by plane. Some 52 billion yuan will be invested in these projects, with 9.6 billion yuan of that to go towards the construction of new airports. The total investment is greater than that in airports in the east of the country.

There are 54 civil aviation airports in west China, 38 percent of China's total airports. However, the density of airports in northwest China is only one fifth that of eastern China. Western China is vast in territory, and as the economy grows, there is an increasing demand for a civil aviation industry. There are particular advantages in building airports in some of the more remote areas.

Last year, the General Administration of Civil Aviation reached an agreement with many western provinces to build airports during the 11th Five-Year Plan period. According to the plan, the Tibet Ngari region will have a new airport by October 2010 which will be the highest in the world. Due to an inhospitable climate and a complex traffic situation, the road to Ngari can only be accessed from May through to October. Sanjiangyuan airport will be built in Yushu in Qinghai, an area 4,000 meters above sea level, which will cut the travel time to Xining to less than an hour. By 2010, there will be 12 airports in Inner Mongolia; there will be feeder airports on both the eastern and western grasslands. The total number of airports in Xinjiang Autonomous Region will increase to 20 by the end of the Plan period.

The General Administration of Civil Aviation will, during a certain period, subsidize some small airports and airfares on certain routes in western areas.

Source:People's Daily 
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