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New airport will boost tourism at ancient city

The construction of a new airport near the site of a 2,200-year-old ancient city in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, began yesterday, a local official said.

The Jiaohe Airport, 35 kilometers from the ancient Jiaohe City, is in the northwest suburb of Turpan, 180 kilometers from Urumqi, the regional capital, said Duan Zixin, general manager of Xinjiang Airport Group Company Ltd.

Jiaohe City has been described as having "the most well-preserved earth constructions worldwide" by archaeologists.

The airport, costing 400 million yuan (US$58.6 million), is due to be complete in May 2010 and by 2020 the passenger total is expected to reach 400,000, and cargo throughput will be 1,300 tonnes, Duan said.

The airport is expected to bring new business to the ancient city built in 200 BC.

It used to be one of the main stops on the 2,000-year-old Silk Road, a 7,000-kilometer trade route linking Asia and Europe.


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