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Govt may have to fund Kawthoung airport modernisation

The government may have to step in to upgrade Kawthoung airport in Tanintharyi Regionif no private investor is willing to come in after Golden Myanmar Airlines, a domestic airline based out of Yangon, pulled out of the project.

Department of Civil Aviation deputy director-general U Ye Htut Aung said the upgrading of the airport would be carried out with government funding if no other private investor steps up with the funds.

“No matter what, Kawthoung Airport will be upgraded. The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) is drawing up the project costs for the government,” he said. It has been estimated that private investors would have to cough up US$36 million to improve the airport.

Originally, Golden Myanmar Airlines, which won the tender, was suppose to invest 65pc, with 33pc to come from Singapore’s KMA Resources while China’s Beijing ZH Airport and Tanintharyi Capital would invest 1pc each.

U Ye Htut Aung said no new tenders have been called for the project, despite speculation with the DCA awaiting instructions from the MOTC. The premium paid for the tender by Golden Myanmar Airlines have not been refunded pending an explanation by the airline.

The Myanmar Times contacted the airline for comments but the official in charge was not available as he was on overseas travel.

Kawthoung airport is one of 14 airports earmarked for upgrades to promote tourism and boost regional development. It was among the first three to be chosen for the upgrades, the others being Heho airport in Shan State and Mawlamyine airport in Mon State.

The upgrades would involve setting up customs, immigration and quarantine facilities in the first stage and then bringing in other facilities to raise it to international status in the second stage.

The KBZ Group won the tender for Heho airport, where the investment has been estimated at US$40 million. The company would invest 65pc, with the remainder to be invested by Japan’s Toyota Tsusho Co.

The US$20 million upgrade of Mawlamyine airport would be undertaken by Hinthar Group and Bangkok Aviation Services Enterprise. – Translated

Source: Myanmar Times

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