Burma Calls for Partners to Upgrade Airports

By May Lay 5 October 2012

Burma’s Department of Civilian Aviation (DCA) is urging both foreign and local partners to invest in the country’s international airports, said Win Ko, the general manger of Yangon International Airport last week.

In particular, the DCA is seeking joint ventures to upgrade Rangoon and Mandalay’s international airports, as well as building a new terminal in Pegu, some 50 miles (80 km) north of Rangoon, to help cater for an expected increase in foreign tourist arrivals.

The international airport in Rangoon—the former capital now officially known as Yangon—urgently needs to be upgraded in terms of its ground service system and in its overall size, said Win Ko.

“We are calling for partners to support the financial costs of expanding the airport’s service system and increasing the size of building. Currently Yangon Airport is running with 21 immigrations counters and we need more,” he said. “We also need to add more terminals to save time and ease traffic.”

The DCA said it wants to complete the upgrading of Yangon International Airport by 2015, and build an international terminal at Pegu, also known as Bago, by 2016. Both projects require investors, it said.

Burma’s Ministry of Transportation called on Sept. 17 for a meeting of companies bidding to build Hanthawaddy International airport near Pegu, a project which was suspended back in 2004.

“Currently the selection process is underway and we have already received submissions from local and foreign companies,” said a DCA spokesperson.

Recently, several international airlines have announced their intention to launch or resume flights to Burma with tourist demand highest in Rangoon, Mandalay and the historical site of Bagan. Business travelers and diplomats will also ensure traffic to Burma’s new capital, Naypyidaw.

Meanwhile, Qatar Airways joins the list of international companies that will resume flights to Burma. The airline said in a statement on Wednesday that it will relaunch its Doha – Rangoon route that had been suspended in January 2008. It said the thrice-weekly flights will resume this Friday.

Taiwan’s EVA Airways recently announced it will begin Rangoon – Bangkok- Taipei flights on Oct. 19, while Korean Air resumed flights in September. Japan’s ANA will resume its Tokyo – Rangoon flights in mid-October.