A Large increase in passenger arrivals at Yangon International Airport has prompted government to consider restarting a mothballed airport project near Bago, a minister told journalists last week.
“We expect about a 30 to 35 percent increase in passengers passing through Yangon airport [in 2011],” Minister for Transport U Nyan Tun Aung said on September 7. “We expect the airport will reach its capacity within four years.
“Yangon Airport has limited space for future expansion. The total area of the airport is only about 1000 acres so we are considering restarting the Hanthar-waddy airport project, which has been stopped for many years,” the minister said.
In the first four months of 2011, international arrivals at Yangon airport rose 21pc to about 500,000, while arrivals at the domestic terminal stood at about 360,000, a 23pc jump on the same period in 2010.
Located in Mingalardon township, Yangon International Airport can handle 2.7 million passengers a year. Hantharwaddy Airport is located in Bago Region, about 80 kilometres northeast of Yangon.
After Myanmar opened up to tourism in the early 90s, the State Law and Order Restoration Council announced plans to build two international airports, at Mandalay and Bago.
Mandalay International Airport opened in 2000 in Tada-U township, about 35km south of Mandalay. It has a 14,000-foot runway and can handle up to three million passengers a year but its only regular international route is to Kunming in China. The minister did not reveal why Hantharwaddy airport was not completed.
U Nyan Tun Oo said a new international airport capable of handling 3.5 million passengers was under construction in Nay Pyi Taw would be completed this year.
“We are also building the new airport in Nay Pyi Taw with the full facilities. But it is up to the airlines to land there. If they have passengers, they’ll land there but we won’t force them to do so,” U Nyan Tun Aung said.