DCA hopes to tie up Hanthawaddy airport deal by the end of this year
A FINAL concession agreement between the Department of Civil Aviation and a consortium building a major new international airport in Bago Region known as Hanthawaddy International Airport should be complete by the end of this year, according to a DCA director.
Myanmar has been trying to build the airport for two decades, but delays have plagued the project, which is now slated for completion by 2022.
“We are still discussing the terms with the consortium and hope to sign a final agreement this December,” said DCA director U Hla Bone Zaw. “We have to settle discussions about the project cost, the value of Official Development Assistance loans and the duration of the contract.”
The first phase of the airport project is estimated to cost US$1.5 billion, he said.
Myanmar officials previously said they were in talks with the Japan International Cooperation Agency to cover part of the construction costs with development assistance.
The consortium – JGC Corporation, Yongnam Holdings and Changi Airports International – won a tender to build and run the airport in October 2014 after the original winner – a joint venture headed by South Korea’s Incheon International Airport Corporation – and the government fell out over details in the project proposal.
The airport is slated to be built on an old Second World War Japanese airfield of 9690 acres (3921 hectares) in Kyauk Taing Kan village in Bago Region, around 77 kilometres (48 miles) northeast of Yangon.
“The new airport is a little far from Yangon, so we plan to build a train to line, but we have not decided on the exact details,” said U Hla Bone Zaw.
The project has been criticised because of its distance from Yangon and as the city already has an international airport, where two new terminals under construction will easily be able to handle air passenger traffic.
Despite Hanthawaddy International Airport’s distance from the city, the consortium predicts its project will serve as a hub that connects Myanmar’s commercial capital with the world.
“Once operational, the airport will become the main international gateway into Myanmar, particularly the Yangon metropolitan area,” it said in a press release earlier this year.
JGC owns a controlling stake in the consortium with 55 percent. Changi Airports International holds 20pc while Yongnam has a one-quarter share.