ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Reinhard Hohler, Chiang Mai
According to media news from Yangon, Myanmar has awarded new contracts to expand two existing airports and build a new international airport, amidst the growing demands of tourism in the country.
A contract to expand Myanmar's Yangon International Airport has been awarded to a consortium led by Pioneer Aerodrome Services Company, an affiliate of the major local conglomerate Asia World, which is run by Steven Law.
Steven Law, also known as Tun Myint Naing, is the son of the recently deceased drug kingpin Lo Hsing Han, 80. US companies are forbidden from doing business with him due to his connection to Myanmar's former military regime and involvement in the illicit drug trade.
Malaysian and Singaporean companies are also part of the consortium to expand the airport at Yangon, gateway to Myanmar and commercial port city.
Apart from Yangon International Airport, which currently has a capacity to handle 2.7 million passengers annually, a new international hub will be built by South Korea's state-run Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC).
The new Hanthawaddy International Airport will be built near Bago, about 80 km northeast of Yangon, and is expected to handle 12 million passengers a year, according to South Korea’s transport ministry.
On Sunday, the ministry said in a statement that the final contract for the Hanthawaddy Airport project, which is worth over USD1 billion, would be signed at the end of the year. The facility will be finished by 2018 and will be the country’s biggest international airport, according to Myanmar's Department of Civil Aviation.
Meanwhile, a consortium of Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan Airlines Corporation and SPA Project Management Ltd. won a contract on Saturday to repair and operate Mandalay International Airport near Myanmar's second-biggest city Mandalay.
Established in 2000, the existing Mandalay International Airport is currently capable of handling 600,000 passengers a year. Located in central Myanmar, the airport saw a 20 percent growth in annual passengers last year, with 500,000 domestic passengers and some 80,000 international passengers, mostly Chinese.
Recently, THAI Smile and AirAsia have introduced flights from Bangkok to Mandalay.
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