Bago airport to improve Myanmar’s reputation: minister

Myanmar’s future as a regional aviation hub depends on wide-ranging developments and improvements centred on the future Hanthawaddy Airport, the minister for transport said.

Speaking at a seminar to discuss new laws needed to establish a national airport authority, U Nyan Htun Aung said the development of the new airport would improve Myanmar’s reputation.

“A country may be considered to have high aviation standards only if it has a gateway,” he said, urging the swift completion of Hantharwaddy Airport.

Hantharwaddy is located in Bago Region, about 48 miles to the north of Yangon, in close proximity to the special economic zones of Thilawa and Dawei, said U Nyan Htun Aung.

Thilawa is located to the south of Yangon and Dawei is in Tanintharyi Region.

Construction of the new airport has been repeatedly delayed completion is now targeted for 2022. Once finished, it is intended to take over from Yangon International Airport as the country’s major international entry point.

The minister also stressed the need to continue to adhere to International Civil Aviation Organization standards and to study how aviation and airport authorities operate in other countries.

Foreign experts could also advise on the best communications systems and navigational aids, he said. Myanmar joined ICAO in 1948.

As facilities for the landing and transit of international airlines have continued to improve, navigation and monitoring systems have been upgraded, air operations certificates and licences have been granted to more Myanmar Aviation Academy graduates, the aviation law is being reformed and collaboration agreements are being made, he said.

The new airport was first dreamt up in the early 1990s but the project was put on hold between 2004 and 2013. The US$1.4 billion contract to build the airport was won last year by a consortium including Singapore’s Yongnam Holdings, Changi Airport Planners and Engineers, and Japan’s JGC Corporation.

The project, which is not explicitly backed by Myanmar’s government, has since been delayed due to financing issues, state media reported, with developers experiencing hold-ups obtaining Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans.

When complete, the airport is set to become Myanmar’s largest, with the capacity to handle up to 12 million passengers a year.

It will compete with Yangon International Airport, which is being upgraded by Pioneer Aerodrome Services, a Myanmar company linked to conglomerate Asia World.

Source: Myanmar Times

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