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Lhasa Airport Sees Record Number of Passengers
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Lhasa's Gonggar Airport, the world's highest, has so far handled over a million passengers this year, up 17 percent over 2005, according to statistics released by the airport on Wednesday.


The increase is mainly attributed to booming tourism which is up more than 30 percent over last year, said a local aviation official.


Low air fares have also attracted more people as competition from the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which opened on July 1 this year, has caused airline ticket prices to drop.


Air fares from Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, to Tibet have been discounted by as much as 70 percent, and are now almost 250 yuan (US$31.25) cheaper than a sleeper-car train ticket.


Gonggar airport is 3,650 meters above sea level and is soon to be expanded to handle more passengers and cargo.


Tibet now has three airports, and is planning to build the Gunsa airport in Ngari in western Tibet. Five airline companies offer flights in the region.


Tibet has received more than 2.25 million visitors in the first 10 months of the year, an increase of 31.8 percent over the same period last year, according to statistics from the regional tourism bureau.


(Xinhua News Agency December 7, 2006)


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