Hantharwady International Airport back on radar

The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) will conduct a field study on the construction of Hantharwady International Airport in Bago, according to deputy director U Zaw Min on March 21, during a meeting on crop compensation for farmers living within the vicinity of the project site.

The US$1.5 billion project will be fully funded by Japan, which is now making its fifth attempt to revive the project, U Zaw Min said.

The two governments are scheduled to meet next month with regards to kick starting the project. “After the meeting, we expect to start conducting preliminary ground studies at the site of the airport,” he said.

As such, in addition to compensating farmers, appeals to remove squatters living in the area have been sent to the regional government.

The government said it had already compensated residents living in the area twice in the past, in 1994 and 2012. Since then, some farmers have returned to live in the area and are in fact trespassing on the site. “Despite this, we will still compensate these farmers for the loss of their crops,” said U Win Thein, chief minister of Bago Region.

On March 21, U Thant Sin Maung, Minister of Transport and Communications, also met Mr. Hiroto Izumi, Special Advisor to the Japanese Prime Minister, to discuss Myanmar – Japan Cooperation Projects Affairs, under which the construction of Hantharwady Airport is among the projects.

Last year, Myanmar and Japan resuscitated discussions on the failed Hantharwaddy International Airport Project. Both Nay Pyi Taw and Tokyo want the project to go ahead “as soon as possible”, Ichiro Maruyama, Japan’s ambassador to Myanmar, said at the time.

While Hantharwady has been listed as is a national prioritised project to develop the aviation sector, efforts to get construction off the ground have hit repeated roadblocks.

The airport was to have been built around 80 kilometres north of Yangon, near Bago city, by 2022, according to a framework agreement signed in January 2016 between a consortium and the DCA. The consortium included Japan-based JGC Corp as well as Singapore’s Yongnam Holdings Ltd and Changi Airports International.

Last year, Yongnam announced in a statement that the agreement to design, build and manage the planned airport had “expired”.

Source: Myanmar Times

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