New airport planned in Xinjiang

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A regional airport will soon be built in Yutian, a remote county in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, authorities said Saturday.

The 710-million yuan (104 million U.S. dollars) civil airport is designed to handle an annual throughput of 180,000 passengers and 400 tonnes of cargo. Annual take-offs and landings will total 2,143, the regional development and reform commission said in a press release.

The airport will have a 3,200-meter runway, a 3,000-square-meter terminal building, four aprons, and facilities for air traffic control and power, water, heat and fuel supplies.

Construction of the airport has been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Yutian county, on the southern edge of the Taklimakan Desert, is a major stopping off point on the ancient Silk Road. Today, the county covers 39,500 square kilometers and has 277,400 permanent residents.

The county is 1,300 km from the regional capital Urumqi. The nearest airport, in Hotan City, is nearly 200 km away.

Yutian airport is one of 10 new airports to be built in Xinjiang by 2020. Six older airports will also be renovated and expanded.

Xinjiang presently has 18 civil aviation airports, the most among 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on the Chinese mainland. But airport density is still low in Xinjiang, which covers about one sixth of the Chinese territory.

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