Tibet Airlines started operating flights from Lhasa to Gansu's capital city Lanzhou on Tuesday, opening a direct winter air connection between the two cities for the first time, People's Daily Online reported.
The first 140-minute flight, a Tibet Airlines Airbus A319, landed at Lanzhou Zhongchuan Airport at 11:10 am.
The round-trip direct flight TV9827/8 will operate every Tuesday and Saturday departing Lhasa at 8:50 am and returning from Lanzhou at noon.
Tibet Airlines is the only carrier that flies this route in winter. The full-price economy class ticket of this flight is 1,560 yuan (＄246).
Established in June 2010, Tibet Airlines is the first and only local airline company of the Tibet autonomous region. Its maiden flight was on July 26 this year.
The carrier's fleet includes three Airbus A319 airplanes and it operates nine domestic destinations with Lhasa and Chengdu as the main hubs. The company plans to expand the fleet size to 10 aircraft and operate flights to all civil airports in Tibet.
Following the country's efforts in recent years to promote civil aviation in Tibet, the number of civil airports in the region increased to five: Lhasa, Qamdo, Nyingchi, Xigaze and Ngari. The newest two, Xigaze and Ngari airports were just opened last year.
The country has also invested 1.8 billion yuan (＄283 million) to build an airport in Tibet's Nagqu prefecture, which will be the highest airport in the world – 4,436 meters above sea level.