The Tibet Autonomous Region has recently unveiled its plan for the development of general aviation from 2021 to 2035, which involves constructing several new airports for general use. This initiative serves a dual purpose – it will not only boost the growth of the general aviation sector in Tibet but also have a positive impact on the local population. Furthermore, it is a clear indication of the region’s efforts to promote civil-military integration and support national defence initiatives along the China-India border.
As per the blueprint, Tibet will witness the addition of 58 general airports by 2035. The objective is to ensure that every county-level area has over one general airport. The construction will ultimately develop a comprehensive general aviation infrastructure. This infrastructure will have a transportation airport, supported by a general airport and a parking area to supplement the network.
According to the plan, it is establishing a network between civil aviation airports, which comprise transportation airports and general airports. The former is responsible for general passenger and cargo transportation while the latter is primarily involved in special operations such as aerial surveying and mapping, and agricultural and forestry spraying, among others.
Particularly in Tibet, these airfields will primarily serve public needs such as firefighting, medical care, emergency rescue, and so on, and subsequently advance towards local transportation, sightseeing, and tourism.
Tibet Autonomous Region airport and airfields hold great significance in terms of improving the lives of people and providing timely assistance to those in remote areas. Furthermore, China’s civil helicopter industry is thriving. As per the predictions of the domestic aviation sector, China will have over 3,500 civil helicopters by 2027. Coupled with the challenge of choosing runway-style airports in several high valleys in Tibet, the local government has put forth a clear proposal that general airport runways should be primarily used by helicopters, with a preference for domestic models. Hence, the implementation of this development plan aids in the advancement of China’s civil helicopter industry.
Aside from their function in the civilian sector, these new universal airfields hold significant roles in the military as well. In the current report, the Tibet Autonomous Region particularly emphasized the phrase “national security and preserving stability.” The formal inclusion of these four expressions understandably acknowledges the present strain between China and India. The crucial significance of Tibet’s exceptional geographical position in directing the China-India border. Since 1962, India has deemed China as its most formidable adversary and stationed substantial troops along the northern border. The conflict between the two nations at the border has remained unresolved.
Furthermore, aside from the head-to-head rivalry among the border soldiers, there has been a focus on the realm of facilities. In Donglang and other locations, China has constructed roads for military preparedness and erected bridges on Bangong Lake that can accommodate the passage of armoured troops. The latest transportation airports including Dingri and Longzi, included in the blueprint have the capability to handle both civilian and military aircraft.