May 13, 2014

Myanmar to upgrade domestic airports

Department of Civil Aviation says it will issue a tender in the last quarter of this year to invite local and foreign companies to invest in 39 underdeveloped domestic airports.

The Irrawaddy oneline newspaper first reported on the proposed tenders,  in November, last year, saying the DCA had called on companies to register their interest and proposals to rebuild and improve 30 of Myanmar’s 69 domestic airports.

The process, which was completed last January, was not a formal bidding process, but served to inform the government agency of the interest and plans of potential airport developers.

DCA general director Tin Naing Tun, was quoted as saying that many companies had registered their interest, but they were mostly local companies.

“Some companies are proposing that they can upgrade all domestic airports… but they should only indicate the specific airports that they will actually upgrade,” he said.

DCA confirmed, Wednesday, it will now issue a formal tender inviting companies to bid for contracts to develop the 39 airports some time “after the rainy season,” in October.

“We will hold more discussions and allow companies to make bids on the tender later this year,” he said.
Earlier, the DCA hoped to attract international corporations as partners to fast track improvements and give the country a top quality network of airports.

At that level, the response has not been promising. Very few international companies will make a commitment to take on an entire network when only a few airports are considered profitable.

According to the department, the government currently spends about US$12 million annually to maintain 69 domestic airports.

The government hopes the plan to outsource airports will help develop the country’s aviation industry and airport capacity. Air safety has become a particular concern after a number of accidents occurred at local airports in 2012 and 2013.

The country’s aviation industry is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, as estimates suggest foreign tourist arrivals will rise dramatically from 4.2 million in 2013 to 30 million in 2030. (Tourism master plan forecasts).
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