Mitsubishi, Jalux and Yoma to Operate Mandalay Airport

By Jared Ferrie 18 November 2014

RANGOON — Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp and Jalux Inc will partner with Burma’s Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd to operate Mandalay airport, the country’s second-largest airport, and expand it into a regional hub, an official from Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) said on Tuesday.

The companies established a special purpose company, MC-Jalux Airport Services Co, to run Mandalay airport in central Burma for 30 years, trading house Mitsubishi said in a statement issued on Monday. Company officials were not immediately available to comment on the value of the contract.

“The airport in the future will be booming,” Than Min, an official with the DCA, told Reuters. “It will be a center for international flights.”

Burma is also planning to privatize operations at smaller domestic airports and is currently accepting applications, said Than Min. Only local companies have so far applied.

The Mandalay airport partnership will “generate further expansion of domestic and international flights” beginning around March next year, Mitsubishi said. Mandalay airport currently has capacity to handle three million passengers a year, but only serviced 750,000 in 2013, it said.

Of that number 190,000 were passengers on international flights and the rest were domestic. The airport currently connects to four international and 11 domestic destinations.

The airport privatization plan is part of an overhaul of the country’s air network. Burma has an air accident rate nine times the world average, aviation authorities say.

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has provided a grant to install safety equipment at six airports, with Japan’s Sumitomo Corp picked as the prime contractor, said Akihito Sanjo, a Yangon-based representative of the agency, in an interview on Tuesday.

He said the DCA has also asked JICA to install a wide-ranging radar system at the main airport in the commercial capital, Yangon, a request the agency is evaluating.

Sanjo said aviation authorities were unable to provide information about whether Malaysia Airlines’ flight 370, which disappeared on March 8, passed over Burma airspace because Rangoon International Airport’s radar does not extend over the ocean.

On Oct. 29, Burma said it had chosen a Japan-Singapore consortium to build its fourth international airport, a $1.5 billion project north of Yangon.