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China's Peace Airport to be operational by October

BEIJING (PTI): Chinese have said that the new airport built near the world's tallest peak Mount Everest in Xighaze in Tibet will become operational in October and would boost tourist traffic in the region, in a move that would enhance its reach closer to Indian and Nepalese border.

The airport being constructed at the cost of USD 71.7 million was also expected to boost tourist traffic to Xigaze where the Tashilhungpo 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 and would be completed in September, making its opening in October feasible, said Xu Bo, director of the Civil Aviation Administration's Tibet Branch.

The airport would be able to handle 230,000 passengers and 1,150 tonnes of cargos and 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, in Dingri county, it said. It would 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 its infrastructure to Tibet connecting it with the mainland both by road, rail and air, raising concerns in India that the extensive net work of connectivity provided tactical advantage for it to deploy troops at the borders in short span of time.

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

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