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UPDATED: 14:39, June 25, 2004
New airport being built in Xinjiang
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Construction of a new airport started Sunday in Xinyuan County of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The Narat Airport is the 11th airport in Xinjiang.

The airport is 330 kilometers west of Urumqi, the regional capital. It will cost 156 million yuan (18 million US dollars) to build.

Simayi Teliwardi, chairman of the regional government, said the airport will help promote social and economic growth and national unity in Xinjiang and accelerate the region's tourist development.

As Narat is near the Swan Lake and on Kunas Grassland, a state-listed tourist attraction, it received 133,000 visitors last year,gaining 27 million yuan in tourist income. The number of tourists to the region grew at an annual rate of 30 percent in the past five years.

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