Vice President: New Airport Project Must Be Transparent

By San Yamin Aung 22 December 2016

RANGOON — Burma’s Vice President Henry Van Thio stressed the need for the “transparent and systematic implementation” of the Hanthawaddy International Airport project north of Rangoon at the first meeting of the project committee on Wednesday.

“The new Hanthawaddy International Airport will become a major gateway for international flights into the country. We will implement it as a national project,” Henry Van Thio, who is head of the committee, said on the President’s Office website.

An international airport with international civil aviation safety standards is urgently needed for both passenger and cargo flights, the vice president said at the Wednesday meeting.

“Hanthawaddy international airport is essential for the development of country’s economy,” he said.

Yangon International Airport cannot be expanded as there is no space for a new runway or more airplane parking spaces. The airport is also shared by the Burma Air Force and is in a residential area, making noise pollution an issue.

Hanthawaddy International Airport will be located at the site of an old airport near the town of Pegu on over 9,500 acres of land.

The vice president urged the respective ministries and regional authorities to discuss potential difficulties in upgrading the roads around the airport, installing sufficient power supply and telecommunication networks, and relocating settlements in the project area.

Incheon Airport Consortium, a South Korean conglomerate, won the intial tender in Aug. 2013, but negotiations on lending terms for the project broke down and the government rescinded the contract.

A new tender was awarded in Oct. 2014 to a Japanese-Singapore consortium comprised of Singaporean firms Yongnam Holdings Ltd. and Changi Airports International, as well as Japan’s JGC Corporation.

The first phase of the project—which will take five years—is expected to cost US$2 billion and begin early next year.

Once the first phase of the project is completed in 2022, Hanthawaddy International Airport will have the capacity to handle 12 million passengers per year. Upon completion of the second phase, it will have the capacity for 30 million passengers annually.