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New airport opens in high-altitude SW China

Updated: Sep 19, 2019 Xinhua/ Print
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Passengers of Flight 3U8013 walk off the plane in the newly built Garze Gesar Airport in Southwest China's Sichuan province, Sept 16, 2019. With the flight’s landing, Garze Gesar Airport was officially open. It will shorten the journey between Chengdu and the central region of Garze, a Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Sichuan, to only a one-hour flight. [Photo/Xinhua]
Tibetan people at the opening ceremony of Garze Gesar Airport take pictures at the airport, Sept 16, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]
Flight 3U8013 lands at Garze Gesar Airport, Sept 16, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]
Flight 3U8014 prepares for takeoff at Garze Gesar Airport, Sept 16, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

A new airport in a Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Southwest China's Sichuan province began operation on Sept 16.

The Garze Gesar Airport, situated at 4,068 meters above sea level in the Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Garze, saw its first airplane land on the morning of Sept 16.

It is China's fifth airport located over 4,000 meters above sea level. The airport is expected to handle 500,000 passengers per year.

So far, only one air route links the airport and Chengdu, capital of Sichuan. Air routes to Chongqing, Xi'an in Shaanxi province and Kunming in Yunnan province are expected to be launched in the near future.

The airport will improve the traffic conditions of the prefecture, and is of great significance for the development of the local economy and tourism, as well as emergency response and poverty alleviation, local officials said.

The journey between Garze and Chengdu used to take over eight hours by car. With the new airport, it is now just a one-hour flight.

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