LHASA — Tibet autonomous region in southwest China saw a record 3.15 million air passengers in 2014, up 14 percent from the previous year, according to regional civil aviation authorities on Jan 7.
Tibet opened nine new air routes last year, bringing its total to 48 and the number of cities linked with Tibet to 33.
The five airports in Tibet handled more than 30,000 flight landing and takeoffs as well as cargo throughput of 25,000 tons.
“In the past, it took me more than 40 hours to travel home by train,” said Liu Yang, a taxi driver in the regional capital of Lhasa, who hails from Zhengzhou, capital of central China’s Henan province.
“Thanks to a new air route in 2014, the trip is now a mere four hours,” said Liu.
The booming tourism industry and trade communication activities contributed to the rapid development of Tibet’s civil aviation, said He Gang, an assistant researcher with the Tibet Regional Academy of Social Sciences.
Tibet saw more than 15 million tourists in 2014, up 20 percent from the previous year.
A number of trade fairs, entertainment and sports events were held in the region last year, which attracted more tourists and potential investors to the plateau region.
Currently, there are five airports in Tibet, one based in Lhasa, and other four in Shigatze, Chamdo, Nyingchi and Ngari Prefectures.