Myanmar’s aviation market is poised to enter a major period of growth as the country begins to open up following landmark elections earlier this month that were won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. The election was seen as a turning point for Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, and the start of a more favourable business environment, including for aviation. Several Asian carriers and airport operators have identified near-term opportunities in Myanmar. The opportunities for all types of carriers – local and foreign, domestic and international, low-cost and full service – face no limitations in the medium term as the Myanmar market is now the most underserved market in ASEAN and perhaps all of Asia.
Myanmar’s two existing international airports, at Rangoon and Mandalay, are to be partially privatised while a recently opened new airport at the new capital of Naypyitaw will soon start to handle international flights. There are also plans for upgrading several domestic airports, many of which lack basic infrastructure.
Major international airport operators tell CAPA they are eager to participate in expected tenders for the management and expansion of the airports at Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw. International airport operators also expect Myanmar will eventually seek a foreign company to help operate the country’s approximately 30 domestic airports, some of which could be upgraded to international facilities.
The old capital Yangon has by far the largest airport in Myanmar. Last year Yangon accommodated 2.5 million passengers, including almost exactly 1 million domestic passengers and almost 1.5 million international passengers, according to Myanmar Department of Civil Aviation data.