GWADAR, Pakistan, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan broke ground for the construction of the China-funded New Gwadar International Airport on Friday, which would link Pakistan's fast-rising southwest Gwadar port city with the rest of the world.
According to the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform, the 230 million U.S. dollar project fully funded by the Chinese government under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be completed in a period of three years, which is located in Gurandani area, some 26 km northeast of Gwadar city of Balochistan province.
The construction of the new airport would be managed by the China Airport Construction Group and it would be capable of handling a combination of ATR 72, Airbus A-380, Boeing B-737 and Boeing B-747 for domestic and international routes.
Covering an area of 18 square km, the new airport would be the second largest airport in Pakistan.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who performed the groundbreaking at a ceremony, appreciated the speedy and quality work by the Chinese companies and individuals in Gwadar, adding that Gwadar has become an engine of growth for the whole country.
Khan said that he is looking forward to seeking cooperation from the Chinese government in a number of fields, including railways, agriculture and fishing.
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing said under CPEC and the Belt and Road Initiative, the long term friendship and cooperation between China and Pakistan has entered into a new form and new dimension.
Both sides have decided to usher in the new stage of economic expansion under CPEC with cooperation in the industrialization and social sector by introducing new projects, said Yao, adding that the new airport is just the beginning of the new stage and more projects will come soon.
The ambassador said that China, as the traditional partner, firmly stands with Pakistan on the road towards development and stability and Chinese people are helping Pakistani people achieve their prosperity.
Chief Minister of Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan said that the transportation infrastructure projects under CPEC in Balochistan are reducing traveling time, uplifting socio-economic activity for the local population by providing direct and quick access to main markets.
"The things are progressing and people of my province are willing to have business to business cooperation with Chinese," said the chief minister, vowing to provide maximum facilitation to the investors who come to avail opportunities.
During the ceremony, the Chinese and Pakistani sides also signed memorandum of understanding regarding a vocational training institute and a friendship hospital.