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Choppers to boost rescue services, tourism

By Source:China Daily 2016-11-21

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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