URUMQI, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region will start preliminary work on nine new airports this year as part of the efforts to improve connectivity and transform itself into a transportation hub along the Road and Belt.
Preliminary work will begin this year for new airports in Taxkorgan, Zhaosu, Yutian, Bayanbulak, Hoboksar, Usu, Qitai, Barkol and Alaer in Xinjiang. Airports in Kashgar, Yining, Aksu, Tacheng, Altay Prefecture and Turpan will be expanded to handle more passengers, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Xinjiang Regional Administration said.
In 2018, Xinjiang's accumulated investment in airport construction was 3.15 billion yuan (465 million U.S. dollars). Currently, Xinjiang has 21 airports.
These airports handled 30 million passengers in 2018. So far, 49 airline companies operate in the region. They operate 257 air routes and enable Urumqi's connection with 73 cities in China and 17 countries worldwide.