The target opening date for Yangon’s new international airport has been pushed back by another two years to 2022.
The Hanthawaddy International Airport was first imagined in the early 1990s, but the project was put on hold in 2004. When discussions resumed in 2013, officials said it would be ready by 2016.
Then, after talks with the original tender winner stalled in early 2014, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) awarded the US$1.4 billion contract to a Singapore-led consortium last October. At the time, the DCA said the airport would open by December 2019.
The latest delay is due to financing issues, state media reported on August 28. The Global New Light of Myanmar said the investors have experienced hold-ups obtaining Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans to spend on the $1.4 billion project.
When the tender was awarded last year, Myanmar officials said they were in discussions with the Japan International Cooperation Agency to cover part of the construction cost through development assistance loans.
A consortium comprised of Singapore’s Yongnam Holdings, Changi Airport Planners and Engineers, and Japan’s JGC Corporation was selected by the Ministry of Transport to build the airport, which is located on a 9000-acre (3642-hectare) site in Bago Region, around 77 kilometres (48 miles) northeast of Yangon.
A joint venture led by South Korea’s Incheon International Airport Corporation won the original contract to build the airport in August 2013, but the tender was reopened in February when the government and officials from the group could not agree on certain aspects of the proposal.
When complete, the airport is set to become Myanmar’s largest, with the capacity to handle up to 12 million passengers a year.
In 2014, Myanmar received 3.08 million international visitors, according to data from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. The ministry has high expectations for the next five years – targeting 4.5 to 5 million arrivals in 2015 and 7.5 million by 2020.
In the meantime, a consortium led by Pioneer Aerodrome Services, a subsidiary of Asia World, was selected in August 2013 to overhaul Yangon International Airport and increase its capacity from 2.7 million to 6 million passengers a year, by 2015.
Work is underway and officials said earlier this year that the first part of the project is on track to be completed this year. This will help to relieve the pressure on the existing airport, which processed over 4 million passengers last year, more than 1 million over its official capacity.
Source: Myanmar Times