The prime minister, Begum Khaleda Zia, laid the foundation stone of the expanded Chittagong airport in November. The project is expected to cost around Tk6bn ($149m), of which Japan will provide Tk3.4bn and the UK Tk2.4bn. The expansion, which upgrades the existing facilities, has been necessitated by increased trade and passenger traffic, partly as a result of the success of the Chittagong Export Processing Zone. It is also designed to enable the airport to handle disaster management operations and act as an alternative international airport to Zia international airport in Dhaka. Works scheduled include the building of new passenger and cargo terminals on newly acquired land, boarding bridges, and a meteorological observation system. Completion of the expanded airport is due in 1999, by which time it will be able to handle 520,000 passengers and 5,650 tons of cargo annually.