The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) last week started a tender process for the upgrading of Kawthoung airport in Tanintharyi Region and is now calling for requests for proposals.
Interested parties have until November to submit the relevant documents. The entity undertaking the upgrade must be structured as a special purpose company with at least 65 percent of the shares held by Myanmar citizens.
The DCA said in a statement that the project can be either a private investment by the company or a partnership with the department. The scope of works includes constructing new airport facilities such as runways, terminals, airport aprons, control tower, warehouses and parking.
The terms of agreement include allowing the private companies to run the airports under a 30-year upgrade, operate and maintenance contract, which comes with an option to extend for another 10 years.
The tender process was started due to Golden Myanmar Airlines Public Co Ltd pulling out of the project after winning the tender worth US$36 million. The airline had a 65pc stake, with Singapore’s KMA Resources holding 33pc while Beijing ZH Airport and Tanintharyi Capital each had a 1pc stake.
DCA deputy director general U Ye Htut Aung had said following the pullout that the government will continue with the project even without private investors and had noted that the Ministry of Transport and Communications was calculating the project costs.
Kawthoung, located on the southernmost tip of the country, is the gateway to the Myeik Archipelago famous in recent years as an island destination among mostly local and Thai tourists. The Directorate of Hotels and Tourism data showed that 300,000 tourists visit the area annually. The district has 10 tour agencies and 10 hotels.
Kawthoung airport is one of 14 airports earmarked for upgrades to promote tourism and boost regional development. It was among the first three to be chosen for the upgrades, the others being Heho airport in Shan State and Mawlamyine airport in Mon State.
The upgrades would involve setting up customs, immigration and quarantine facilities in the first stage and then bringing in other facilities to raise it to international status in the second stage.
The KBZ Group won the tender for Heho airport, where the investment has been estimated at US$40 million. The company would invest 65pc, with the remainder to be invested by Japan’s Toyota Tsusho Co.
The US$20 million upgrade of Mawlamyine airport would be undertaken by Hinthar Group and Bangkok Aviation Services Enterprise.