Experimental flight from Ngari to Kashgar successful

Source: Xinhua [09:50 November 29 2011]

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the China Eastern Airlines on Friday succeeded in operating an experimental flight from the city of Ngari in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region to the city of Kashgar in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

The success of the flight is expected to end the decades-old tradition of sending retired servicemen back to their hometowns via road transportation, as the servicemen often have to brave severe weather and poorly-built roads in order to get back home, according to the PLA South Xinjiang Sub-area Command, which has collaborated with China Eastern Airlines to open the route between Ngari and Kashgar.

Ngari, located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, is difficult to reach in the winter, due to frequent natural calamities such as snowstorms, avalanches and landslides.

The Central Military Commission and relevant military and government departments have worked together in order to open flights between the two areas, according to Xu Jinyu, deputy director of the logistics department of the PLA South Xinjiang Sub-area Command.

The flight's pilot was Sun Xuesong, deputy general manager of the northwestern branch of China Eastern, who referred to it as a "flight of historic importance for China's aviation industry."