Construction of the central business district in Guangzhou Aerotropolis Development District officially kicked off in Guangdong province on Monday. [Photo/Guangzhou Aerotropolis Development District Administration]

Construction of the central business district in Guangzhou Aerotropolis Development District officially kicked off in Guangdong province on Monday, aiming to make the southern metropolis into a world-class aviation hub in the years to come.

A strategic cooperation framework agreement to promote the hub was signed on Monday by Guangzhou Aerotropolis Development District Administration, Guangzhou Customs, China Southern Airlines Group and the Guangdong Airport authority.

In addition, the Guangdong branch of China Development Bank signed a cooperative agreement to financially support construction.

The project will cost more than 18 billion yuan ($2.77 billion), including the construction of a landmark airport complex in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, according to a statement released by the Guangzhou Aerotropolis Development District Administration.

The complex will have floor space of 1.5 million square meters which include hotels, business centers, convention and exhibition halls, cultural and tourism facilities, shopping malls and offices for international company headquarters, it said.

Hu Hong, vice-mayor of Guangzhou, said the development zone will play an important role in promoting high-quality economic development in Guangzhou in the years ahead.

Ding Jibao, director of Guangzhou Customs, said Guangzhou Customs has vigorously supported the high-quality development of the Guangzhou airport economy and has helped accelerate the city toward becoming a world-class aviation hub in recent years.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic last year, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport handled 43.77 million passenger trips to become the busiest airport by passenger flow in the world.

Meanwhile the airport’s cargo import and export value reached 280.93 billion yuan in 2020, up year-on-year by 21 percent and hitting a record high.