The Myanmar Times
Wednesday, 01 October 2014
The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Further delays expected as airport talks fall apart

Four international consortiums that once vied for a US$1 billion contract to build the new Hanthawaddy Airport in Bago have been asked to once again submit bids for the tender, further delaying construction, a spokesperson for the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) confirmed last week.

An artist’s impression of the proposed Hanthawaddy International Airport, to be built near Bago. Photo: SuppliedAn artist’s impression of the proposed Hanthawaddy International Airport, to be built near Bago. Photo: Supplied

South Korea’s Incheon Airport consortium won the tender for the contract to build the much anticipated new airport in August, with another consortium comprising of Singapore’s Changi Airport Planners, Yongnam Holdings Ltd and consortiums from France’s Vinci and Japan’s Taisei airports selected as backups.

However, negotiations between the Incheon consortium and the DCA never materialised and the government later decided to grant the project official development assistance (ODA), which would have given the private contractor an unfair advantage, said U Win Swe Tun, deputy director general of the DCA.

As well as the original winner, “the ministry also invited the three other consortiums to re-enter the bidding with strong financial proposals in order to be fair,” he told The Myanmar Times, adding that the new submission deadline is April 22. “They don’t need to resubmit their existing technical proposals on design, construction, operation and maintenance.”

With negotiations with the Incheon consortium falling apart, the DCA also said that it would now be impossible to meet the scheduled completion date of December 2016 as they must work out the details of the ODA.

“For these reasons, the December 2016 completion date cannot be met. The project starting date and completion date will be announced in the near future after selection of the winning consortium,” he

said.

Located on a 9000-acre (3642-hectare) site about 48 miles (77 kilometres) northeast of Yangon, Bago, Hanthawaddy airport first began in March 1994 but halted construction October 2003.

Despite its distance from the city, the site was considered the most suitable among a shortlist of nine.

Hanthawaddy is said to be capable of handling up to 10 million passengers a year once completed.

With the new airport nowhere in sight however, passenger traffic will continue to be handled at Yangon International Airport, which will increase its capacity from 2.7 million passengers per year to 3.5 million in 2015, and 6 million a year by 2019, said U Win Swe Tun.

Pioneer Aerodrome Services, a Myanmar company linked to the conglomerate Asia World, won the tender to renovate the airport, again with the Yongnam-CAPE-JGC consortium following as the backup.

Mandalay International Airport, meanwhile, is slated to be renovated by Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation sometime in the near future, though that agreement has yet to be finalised, he said.