Expansion of the Taiyuan Wusu International Airport will soon begin, with its third-phase upgrading plan recently approved by the National Reform and Development Commission.

According to the plan, construction on a new terminal building-the T3 with a floor space of 400,000 square meters-will be completed in 2025. Auxiliary buildings with floor space totaling 700,000 sq m are also included in the plan.

Upon the project's completion in 2025, the airport in the southeastern suburbs of Taiyuan will have a substantial increase in its flight capacity.

Shanxi Aviation Industry Group, the operator of Wusu, predicts the expanded airport will be able to serve more than 284,000 takeoff and landings upon the completion of the project. It will also be able to handle 40 million passengers and 300,000 metric tons of cargo a year.

Chen Yang, general manager of the company, said the expansion project is poised to make Taiyuan a regional aviation hub.

"Its status as a regional hub will be made possible by opening more flight routes to domestic and overseas cities," Chen said.

Industry insiders are even more optimistic about its role in offering new business opportunities. They claim the increased flight traffic will help to spur the development of a near-airport economic circle.

They predict the enhanced near-airport economy will create more than 350,000 new jobs and generate revenue of more than 200 billion yuan ($31 billion).

Wang Jiangong, a professor at the economics school of Shanxi University, said the industries to be gathered around the expanded airport will include aviation-related services, logistics, processing for exports, tourism, high-tech manufacturing, real estate, finance, conventions and exhibitions.

An airport industry park is planned in an area some seven kilometers away from Taiyuan Wusu International Airport, which will initially focus on hosting businesses engaged in the manufacturing of aviation supplies, aircraft components as well as aviation maintenance.

Wang said the park will offer a base for more industries in the longer term, especially those featuring products and services that rely highly on airport logistics, including high-tech products like semiconductors and robots, cold-chain logistics, exhibitions and conventions.

Wu Jia contributed to this story.