YANGON, 30 December 2016: Myanmar’s vice president, U Henry Van Thio, has called for a show of transparency to ensure the Hanthawaddy International Airport project becomes a showcase for the country’s tourism development.
Global New Light of Myanmar quoted the vice president saying the airport, once completed will become a major gateway for international airlines.
“Therefore, it will be implemented as a national project and needs to be transparent at all levels.”
Myanmar has a long-term policy to establish the airport as an alternative gateway to Southeast Asia from points in Europe. The flight duration from European destinations is around one hour shorter than for Bangkok.
Once there are enough regional services connecting the main tourist and business destinations in ASEAN, Hanthawaddy airport could complete as a regional gateway.
Located in the Bago region, about 48 miles northeast of Yangon, roughly a 90-minute drive from Yangon, the international airport will have an initial capacity to handle 12 million passengers a year. The 9,000 acre site was a Japanese army airport during World War II.
Once finished, it will take over from Yangon International Airport as the country’s major international entry point. However, it also possible that Yangon will follow Bangkok’s example and operate with two airports. It is very likely that the new airport will reach its maximum capacity within two years of its opening in late 2022.
Blueprints for the airport were first introduced in 1990s, but it was not until 2013 that the project moved forward. In 2014, a consortium including Singapore’s Yongnam Holdings, Changi Airport Planners and Engineers, and Japan’s JGC Corporation won the contract to build and operate the airport.
The first phase of the project, which will take five years to complete, will cost USD2 billion. Construction should begin early next year.