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Tibet Airline opens flights in mid-2011

    Tibet Airline Co. Ltd, the maiden airline company in Tibet Autonomous Regin is planning to open its flights in mid-2011. The recruitment of crew members has set out right now.

    With 280 mln Yuan registered capital from 3 registered companies in Lhasa, the construction of Tibet Airline was approved from Civil Aviation Adiministration of China this March.

    'Presently, the majority of shares are held by state owned companies and the rest by two other private companies,' sources told reporter of First Financial Daily, adding that they would also like to cooperate with other airlines.

    The choice of airplanes is limited by the high altitude of Tibet Autonomous Region. The company has decided to choose the types of Airbus A318 or Boeing B737-700. In the early stage, three planes of each type will be purchased.

    'The bad traffic condition hold back many people from traveling in Tibet. It is 300 km from Lhasa to Nyingchi. It only takes four or five hours to fly between two cities inland,but it will take eight hours in Tibet. Compared with the cost and economic benefit of building highways and railways, the development of airlines is a better choice,' sources said.

    The priority of Tibet Airline is to open domestic flights between Lhasa and other capital cities as well as international flights in the near future.

    The domestic flights from Lhasa can reach Chongqing, Chengdu, Xi'an mainly to transfer flights. The economy class tickets to those three cities cost from 1,500 to 1,650 Yuan without much discount while the 60% or 50% discounted tickets are very popular in inland cities.

    Ruiying Agency, an air ticket booking office told the reporter, 'As one of the hot tourist flights, outbound flights from Lhasa are usually sold at full price.'

    Presently, the Tibet Branch of Air China enjoys 55%-60% of civil aviation market shares, Sichuan Airline takes up around 30% with other airlines such as China Southern Airline.

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