Chop­pers to boost res­cue ser­vices, tourism

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By PALDEN NYIMA and DA QIONG in Lhasa Con­tact the writ­ers at palden_ny­ima@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ti­bet au­tonomous re­gion will in­tro­duce do­mes­ti­cally man­u­fac­tured he­li­copters to im­prove res­cue ser­vices in re­mote ar­eas and de­velop tourism.

Ti­bet Devel­op­ment In­vest­ment Group, a com­pany solely in­vested in by the Ti­betan gov­ern­ment and Avi­a­tion In­dus­try Cor­po­ra­tion of China, the coun­try’s main air­craft pro­ducer, have signed an agree­ment to estab­lish a com­pany by the end of this year and in­tro­duce civil­ian chop­pers to the Ti­betan Plateau.

The new com­pany — Ti­bet Xueyu Gen­eral Avi­a­tion Co — is ex­pected to be reg­is­tered with cap­i­tal of be­tween 50 mil­lion yuan ($7.3 mil­lion) and 100 mil­lion yuan, al­though a source with the joint ven­ture, who de­clined to be named, told China Daily that de­tails of the plan are not avail­able yet.

But Tan Ji­wen, pres­i­dent of Ti­bet Devel­op­ment In­vest­ment Group, was quoted by China News Ser­vice as say­ing that the new com­pany will in­tro­duce he­li­copters for res­cue mis­sions first.

The au­tonomous re­gion cov­ers an area of 1.2 mil­lion square kilo­me­ters, and many parts of the re­gion are still in­ac­ces­si­ble by road, Tan said, adding that civil­ian he­li­copters could help res­cuers reach such ar­eas in a timely man­ner and in­crease the ef­fec­tive­ness of res­cue ef­forts.

Ti­bet is aim­ing to boost its moun­taineer­ing in­dus­try by build­ing an in­ter­na­tional moun­taineer­ing cen­ter near the north­ern slope of Qo­molangma, or Mount Ever­est, so he­li­copters will be es­sen­tial for res­cue ef­forts, an in­sider said.

“Ti­bet only has ground res­cue ser­vices at present, but air res­cue will be needed for climbers in the Qo­molangma area,” said Lo­dre, 53, a moun­taineer­ing coach from the Ti­bet Moun­taineer­ing Guide School.

Civil­ian he­li­copters will also be in­tro­duced for tourism pur­poses and be used for con­duct­ing aerial pho­tog­ra­phy, ac­cord­ing to Tan.

Yu­dron, a for­mer of­fi­cial of Ti­bet’s tourism bureau, said that he­li­copter tours will help de­velop the lo­cal tourism in­dus­try.

“They will in­crease the range of des­ti­na­tions that tourists can reach and help boost the re­gion’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment,” Yu­dron said.

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