Rakhine airport in Myanmar to be built by tender

Rakhine airport in Myanmar to be built by tender

The Rakhine State government will invite tenders for the construction of an airport in Mrauk-U, State Planning and Finance Minister Kyaw Aye Thein said.

He told the  Myanmar Times that the decision to put the airport project out to tender was due to insufficient funds in the state’s budget which allocated K2 billion a year for the project.

Work on the airport started in 2015 but it would take another 10 more years if the government relied solely on state funds to build it, he said.

“We can only spend K2 billion a year on the airport construction. Actually we need K26 billion to complete the whole project, that’s why we decided to tender it out to companies that want to undertake the project,” said Kyaw Aye Thein.

“The airport can be completed in three years if it is undertaken by the tender winner. It will boost tourism and the economy in Mrauk-U region,” he added.

Mrauk-U is currently accessible by river and road via Sittwe.

Kyaw Aye Thein also said the location of airport will be away from the ancient archaeological zone.

The airport site is about 10 kilometres from Mrauk-U, between the town and Minbya beside the Sittwe-Yangon highway.

 “It is out of ancient archaeological zone,” he said.

 There are more than 1500 historical pagodas, some more than 800 years old, in the ancient city of Mrauk-U and the government is bidding for UNESCO world heritage status for the temple zone.

 Hoteliers, meanwhile, support the move to build an airport soon in Mrauk-U, and said it would develop the tourism industry and improve the lives of the local population.

“Transportation is very important to attract visitors. Experts say it will take only 18 minutes to Mrauk-U by air from Bagan,” Hla Myint, founder of Mrauk-U Princess Hotel, told the Myanmar Times.

“The potential for tourism development in Mrauk-U is tremendous, and an airport will help greatly,” he said.  

There are six hotels and 13 guest houses in Mrauk-U township.

More than 4000 international tourists visit Mrauk-U every year.

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