URUMQI, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Construction on a new airport will start in June in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, government authorities said Wednesday.
A domestic branch airport for civil use will be built in Qiemo County in the Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture of Bayingolin, which is an important part of the local economy near the Tarim Basin, said Wang Bowei, executive deputy head of the county.
The airport is expected to achieve an annual passenger throughput of 120,000 people by 2020, Wang said.
Investment in the project is estimated to total 490.6 million yuan (78.2 million U.S. dollars).
The airport will play a vital role in helping local farmers and herdsmen to travel, communicate and conduct cultural exchanges with people of different ethnic groups, Wang said.
The regional government announced last year that it would spend 30 billion yuan on airport construction between 2011 and 2015, which will increase the number of operational civil airports in the region from the current 16 to 22.