Record Growth in Yangon’s Passenger Traffic
Yangon’s international airport should close the year with around 2.3 million passenger movements according to the latest estimate by the Department of Civil Aviation.
The department general director, Tin Naing Tun, said the increase in passenger traffic was driven by a mix of business visitors keen to check out investment opportunities as well as tourists.
In 2012, the airport handled 1.9 million foreign passengers and 1.1 million Myanmar citizens, compared to 1.45 million foreign passengers and 1 million locals in 2011.
Airports count passenger movements, a tally which is much higher than visitor arrivals as most tourists will pass through the airport at least two times. Yangon has very little transit traffic and as Mandalay’s airport gains more direct international services, Yangon no longer represents the only gateway that needs to be assessed to come up with accurate figures on foreign tourist arrivals.
Foreign arrivals by air exceeded 500,000 in nine months from January to September this year, a new record and officials were talking about tourist arrivals of reaching 2 million this year when both overland and airline arrivals are considered.
As of 5 September western European countries supplied 90,072 visitors up from 69,135 last year, all through the Yangon gateway.
French and British tourists top the list — 20,031 French tourists and 18,041 British tourists have visited Myanmar.
The major gains are being made in Asia that supplied 298,398 Asian tourists arriving through Yangon International Airport in the first nine months.
Yangon International Airport receives an average of 1,800 travellers a day. Mandalay share will grow significantly in 2014 and Nay Pyi Taw will account for some arrivals as more airlines fly to the capital.
Next year, under tender from the the Ministry of Transport, Pioneer Aerodrome Services and Singapore- based Yongnam-CAPE-JGC should begin work on a second international airport that will eventually replace the current airport.
But that will take another five years to complete and in the meantime the government will have to invest in an expansion at Yangon Airport to raise capacity from 2.7 million to 3.8 million passengers annually.
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