Myanmar has awarded to South Korea’s Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) the right to build a new international airport near its main city as the national government works to attract long-haul direct flights to the country.
State-run airport operator IIAC had bid about US$1.1 billion to undertake the construction of the new airport near Yangon, Myanmar’s old capital and commercial center.
The final contract is slated for signing by the Incheon consortium and Myanmar’s Department of Civil Aviation at the end of this year.
The company is expected to finish the airport, which will serve as a second aviation hub for Yangon, by 2018 and will operate it for up to 50 years, according to the civil aviation department.
The new airport, to be called Hanthawaddy International Airport, will have a capacity of 12 million passengers a year.
IIAC made the bid as a consortium that included Kumho Industrial, Halla Engineering & Construction, Lotte Engineering & Construction, and Posco ICT. It went up against three rival groups—Yongnam Holdings, Taisei Corp., and Vinci SA.
Myanmar’s main air hub, Yangon International Airport, is also up for expansion by a consortium led by its current operator, Pioneer Aerodrome Service. Experts have warned that the airport will soon be seeing tourist and business visitor arrivals beyond its present capacity of 2.7 million heads annually.
In addition, a consortium of Mitsubishi Corp. and a Japan Airlines subsidiary has won a contract to repair and operate an international airport serving Mandalay, the second largest city in Myanmar.
Global investors and businesses have shown renewed interest in Myanmar following political and economic reforms instituted in 2011 after the end of military rule in the country.