AoT mulls Myanmar move after invitation

Thai partners would give airport assistance

Myanmar wants Thai airport authorities to help develop and run its international airports in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw.

Myanmar has asked AoT to help modernise the country’s international airports.

The state-controlled Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) is in talks with Myanmar's Airport Authority involving a broad range of possible cooperations including AoT becoming a joint venture partner and running these airports.

"The discussions are open to all kinds of possibilities," said Somchai Sawasdeepon, AoT's acting president, adding that the agency is keen to help develop major Myanmar's airports.

He said AoT hopes to see a possible tie-up with the Airport Authority as a first step towards engaging in airport operations and investment in two other neighbours _ Laos and Cambodia.

It will be the first time in AoT's 33-year history for it to formulate a plan incorporating foreign international airports.

Talks with Myanmar are only in the preliminary stage but centre on a memorandum of understanding that would pave the way for both sides to pinpoint the scope and areas of cooperation.

Somchai: Months of talks still lie ahead

"We [AoT] should have a clearer picture in the next three months," Mr Somchai told the Bangkok Post, adding that the Myanmar's Airport Authority first approached AoT about the cooperation about a month ago.

He said Myanmar's major airports offer good passenger and cargo traffic opportunities, as the country is opening up after 50 years of isolation by embracing political and economic reforms.

Myanmar's potential is also judged to be good amid the context of the Asean Economic Community, which will kick off in 2016.

Yangon airport, located in Myanmar's largest city, sees the most international air passengers.

Nay Pyi Taw airport forms part of new facilities purposely built for Myanmar's new capital in the middle of the country.

With a surge in inbound traffic expected, Myanmar is redeveloping Yangon airport to double its passenger capacity to 5.5 million.

Myanmar's Civil Aviation Department said Yangon airport handled 2.4 million passengers last year and expects 2.8 million this year.

Passenger traffic through the airport is expected to increase by 20-23% a year, reaching 5.5 million in four years.

The expansion of Yangon airport will take place at the same time as construction of the new Hanthawaddy airport in Bago, 50 kilometres from Yangon.

Related search: myanmar, aot, thailand, airports

About the author

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Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana
Position: Deputy Editor Business