Yangon International Airport opens new terminal
May 25, 2007, 7:07 GMT
Yangon - Yangon International Airport on Friday officially opened its new passenger terminal with capacity to handle 2.7 million visitors a year, state officials said.
'The new terminal building can handle 1,800 passengers per hour and 2.7 million per year, and five aircraft can be landed per hour,' said Myanmar's transport minister, Major General Thein Swe.
The new terminal, which cost 13.3 million dollars, was built by the privately owned Asia World Company, a Myanmar construction company.
'In the past, when this kind of modern building was constructed, we had to hire a foreign contractor and consultant, but this new terminal building has been successfully constructed by national experts,' Thein Swe said.
Myanmar has been subject to economic sanctions and a cutoff from funds from development banks, such as the World Bank and Asia Development Bank, since 1988 when the military launched a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations that left an estimated 3,000 people dead.
Over the past 19 years, nearly all development projects have been self-financed, with many of them handed over to well-connected Myanmar private companies in return for forestry concessions or special business licenses.
'Prior to 1988, the Yangon International Airport was the only airport that could accommodate large aircraft,' said Lieutenant General Thein Sein, first secretary of the State Peace and Development Council, as Myanmar's ruling military junta styles itself.
'But now, there are seven airports, including Mandalay International Airport, where Boeing 747 aircraft can land and 13 airports where aircraft up to Boeing 737 size can land,' said Thein Sein, who attended the Yangon terminal opening ceremony.
Yangon International Airport last year handled 800,000 international passengers and 1.2 million domestic passengers.
Airlines that currently offer regular flights to Yangon include Thai Airways, Myanma Airways, Silk Air, Indian Airlines, Mandarin Airlines, Air China, Qatar Airways, Jetstar Asia, Malaysia Airlines, Bangkok Airways and Thai AirAsia.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur