URUMQI, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Xinjiang plans to spend 14.4 billion yuan on the construction or expansion of 17 airports this year to enhance the region's role as a transport terminal linking China with Central Asia.
Fourteen are transport airports located in the cities of Urumqi, Kashgar, Aksu, Yining, Korla and Altay and some counties including Zhaosu, Yutian and Shache. The other three are general airports.
Shache Airport will be the first to be completed this year. It will be the 19th transport airport in Xinjiang.
Urumqi International Airport will add two runways and a new terminal building covering 450,000 square meters, with its passenger and cargo throughput rising to 48 million people and 550,000 tonnes respectively.
Ye Tao, senior engineer and deputy chief of the Planning and Development Department of the Xinjiang Airport Group said the infrastructure construction would facilitate the local economy and make air travel more convenient.
Xinjiang currently has 18 transport airports in use, the highest of China's 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. By 2025, the number will rise to 33.