China starts building new international airport at Gwadar, Pakistan

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for a new, Chinese funded and built, $230m international airport near the port city of Gwadar on Friday, March 29.

Gwadar, in Balochistan province on the Arabian Sea, is the terminus of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship scheme of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Fully funded by China and constructed by China Airport Construction Group, New Gwadar International Airport is located in Gurandani, some 26km northeast of Gwadar city, Xinhua reports.

It is due to be finished in three years, and will be capable of handling a combination of ATR 72, Airbus A-380, Boeing B-737 and Boeing B-747 for domestic and international routes, said Xinhua.

Covering an area of 18 sq km, the new airport will be the second largest in Pakistan.

The prime minister said Gwadar had become an engine of growth for the country, according to Xinhua.

CPEC is planned as a transformative transport-energy-industrial corridor stretching north-south from China’s western Xinjiang region to Gwadar. Formalised in 2015, its estimated total investment value rose last year from $55bn to $62bn.

Image: Gwadar city in January 2017 (Madihasalam/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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