Yangon Aerodrome Company Limited (YACL) is increasing the capacity of Yangon International Airport (YIA), the gateway to Myanmar, and stepping up marketing to open new international routes, even as YIA is likely to close 2018 with the slowest growth in air passenger traffic in five years.
At a media briefing today to announce the five millionth passenger arrival so far this year, YACL said that 2018 is expected to show an increase of 2.5% of around 6 million in air passenger traffic at YIA, compared to 5.92 million for the whole of 2017. Over the past five years, air passenger growth at YIA – by far the busiest of Myanmar’s three international airports – had increased at an average of 8.6% per year.
YACL said that while tourist arrivals from Asian markets continue to grow in 2018, those from European and North American markets appear to have been impacted by international media reports on domestic Myanmar issues.
“While there has been a slowdown in visitor growth, we have continued to expand YIA’s capacity and capability while intensifying efforts to open up new markets. We are confident that, in partnership with all the relevant stakeholders in the tourism industry, the community and the Myanmar government, 2019 tourist air passenger traffic will surpass that of 2018,” said Mr Ho Chee Tong, Chief Executive Officer of YACL.
“As the investor and operator of Myanmar’s main international airport, we have a responsibility to enhance infrastructure while striving to deliver a high level of safety, security and service. YIA is the gateway to Myanmar and it is important that we deliver an outstanding experience for tourists and business travellers,” he said.
YACL took over YIA’s operation and management in October 2015 under a Public-Private Partnership tender from Myanmar’s Department of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The agreement is for 30 years of operation, with an option to renew for a further 20 years (10+10). Based on the estimated six million arrivals in 2018 and the significant investments to date, YIA is currently operating well below its sustained capacity.
Since early 2018, the management of YIA has embarked on the following enhancements:
– Completion and go-live of Airport Operations Control Center (AOCC) since September 2018
– Full revision of Airport Layout including parking stands (improved safety) since October 2018
– Revamped Apron A to allow eight positions for A320 and B737 types or 10 positions for propeller aircraft; added two taxiways (to total eight currently), expediting runway vacancy
– In-terminal improvements include: 30 new check-in counters at T1 with autonomous multi-level security equipment and five new Baggage Claim Belts at T1 apart from new lounges and F&B outlets.
– Advanced Technical Support training and certification, skills development and talent acquisition
“We have and continue to improve infrastructure, safety and efficiency processes. YIA can now handle wide-body aircraft including B777-300ER and A350. The current capacity will allow YIA to meet foreseeable growth needs for many years to come even with a single runway operation. With further enhancements, innovation and technology upgrades, YIA has the potential to increase the capacity much further,” said Mr Jose Angeja, who was appointed Chief Operating Officer of YACL in November 2017.
Mr Angeja said YIA has increased movements (one movement is one takeoff or one landing) per year at YIA from 62,937 in October 2015 to 77,000 currently (an increase of 1.2%). This is well below that of major single-runway airports such as Xiamen (China) with 192,000; Fukuoka (Japan) with 183,000; Phuket (Thailand) with 105,000 and world leaders Gatwick (UK) 286,000 and Mumbai (India) 320,000.
Based on current capacity and international standards, subject to clearance for arrivals and departures by Myanmar’s Air Traffic Control, YIA has the potential to operate up to 170,000 movements per year (or 19 movements per hour compared to an average of eight currently).
“We are enhancing infrastructure, safety, technology, service levels and most importantly, the skill sets of Myanmar staff who will be YIA’s leaders of tomorrow. YIA is a living organism that offers a first-time experience of Myanmar for tourists. It is the gateway to Myanmar and to the city of Yangon, and we strive to deliver a compelling user experience,” said Mr Angeja.
Over the next two to three years, YIA’s further enhancements will include another parking apron for up to 13 Code C aircraft (Boeing 737), a rapid exit taxiway, construction of maintenance hangars, a Rescue and Fire-Fighting Station and reconstruction of the old Terminal 2 to include technological upgrades.
The number of international airlines using YIA has increased from 25 in October 2015 to 31 currently (with the latest being Sichuan Airline from China making its first flight to YIA on 13 November 2018). The total routes connecting to YIA have increased from 21 international destinations to 29 currently. YIA now connects to 28 domestic destinations and handles seven domestic airlines.
A major priority over the coming months is to work closely with the Ministry of Hotels & Tourism to address concerns arising from slower growth and to increase international air connectivity by:
– Directly marketing to airlines at international air travel events to open new routes;
– Developing sister airport connectivity within Asia; and
– Partnering organisers of MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) to use Myanmar as a location for such events.
“We are committed to the continual development of YIA. Beyond launching more routes and taking steps to improve our facilities and operations, we plan to work with global airlines and tourism boards to drive growth for Myanmar’s leading airport,” said Mr Ho.
About Yangon Aerodrome Company Limited (YACL)
Setting the standard for high performance
Yangon Aerodrome Company Limited (YACL) operates and manages Yangon International Airport, the main gateway into Myanmar. As the largest and busiest airport in Myanmar, YIA sets the standard as a high-performance airport with its overall approach towards achieving excellence in key areas such as infrastructure, organisation and management.
Over the last few years, Myanmar has seen steady growth in visitor traffic. As the country is set to experience long-term growth in tourism, YIA targets to handle up the extensive capacity yearly and is geared to provide quality experiences and premium services for passengers and airlines.
Yangon International Airport (YIA) is strategically located between India and China with two-thirds of the world’s population within six hours’ flying range including cities such as Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Seoul, Dubai, Doha, Beijing, Hong Kong and Taipei. Serving 31 international airlines and 29 international destinations, YIA handled a total of 5.92 million passengers in 2017.