Myanmar to upgrade Mandalay International Airport

Growing air travel prompts the government to seek private sector participation for the development of an airport in Myanmar’s second-largest city. A second airport to be built in Yangon has already attracted interest from 30 private sector firms.

Myanmar’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has invited local and foreign firms to prequalify to develop Mandalay International Airport as a logistics hub.

The work will include drafting an airport master plan, upgrading and expanding the airport terminal and related facilities, managing passenger and cargo operations, ground-handling and catering as well as accessibility and maintenance services.

The aviation regulator seeks to implement the airport development with private sector financing. The deadline for submission of applications is October 15 and an invitation for bids will be made in November, the DCA said in a statement.

Myanmar has been successfully attracting private sector attention for the development of the country's airports. In July, the DCA invited private investors to build a second airport in Yangon, Myanmar's commercial capital and its largest city, to be constructed 48 miles from the city.

Thirty applicants sought pre-qualification documents for the Yangon airport project, known as the Hanthawaddy International Airport, including Vinci, Bouygues, Arup Aviation and GMR India, according to the DCA. Six Chinese firms are among the list of applicants, which also includes Malaysian, American, Singaporean and Japanese companies.

To meet Myanmar's foreign-investment laws, overseas investors in the airport projects would need to work with local partners.

Myanmar's parliament passed this month a new law that limits foreign ownership in some sensitive sectors, but President Thein Sein has decided to return the legislation to parliament for amendment when it reconvenes in late October.

Air travel to Myanmar has grown in recent years and the Asian Development Bank is preparing a tourism master plan for the country.

Mandalay International Airport is one of three international airports in Myanmar and can handle about three million passengers a year.