LA PAZ - The government of Bolivia has signed a $28.8 million contract with the Spanish firm Contratas Iglesias for the construction of an airport in the eastern province of Santa Cruz.
President Evo Morales attended the signing ceremony in San Ignacio de Velasco, which is currently served by a tiny airport equipped with a dirt airstrip.
The new terminal, designed to be capable of accommodating international flights, will have a runway 3,000 meters (9,835 ft.) long made of flexible pavement and a 12,600-sq. meter (129,000-sq. foot) platform, according to the state run ABI news agency.
San Ignacio de Velasco lies 456 kilometers (283 miles) northeast of Santa Cruz, which boasts Bolivia's largest international airport, Viru Viru.
With a population of only some 12,000, San Ignacio de Velasco is popular with tourists because of its religious and cultural heritage and because of its proximity to the internationally renowned Noel Kempff Mercado nature reserve.