YANGON - Myanmar has picked South Korea's state-run airport operator to build a new international hub near it's main city, as the once-isolated nation sees booming tourist and business visitor numbers.
A consortium led by the Incheon International Airport Corp (IIAC) was chosen as the preferred bidder to construct the Hanthawaddy International Airport as a second hub for the country's commercial centre Yangon, Myanmar's Department of Civil Aviation said.
The final contract for the $1.1 billion project will be signed at the end of this year, Seoul's transport ministry said in a statement on Sunday confirming the successful bid.
Myanmar, which emerged from outright military rule in 2011, has seen a surge in tourist and business arrivals as reforms in the former pariah state lure holiday makers and potential investors.
The country's main air gateway Yangon International Airport, which is also set for expansion, currently has a capacity of only 2.7 million passengers annually and authorities warned last year that the number of arrivals was set to exceed that level.
Hanthawaddy International - to be located about 50 miles (80 kilometres) northeast of downtown Yangon - will be capable of handling about 12 million passengers a year, the South Korean transport ministry said.
The consortium - also involving four Seoul construction firms - will build the airport by 2018 and the IIAC will be allowed to manage the property up until 2067, it added.
The IIAC operates South Korea's biggest hub, which handled nearly 40 million passengers last year and has been several times rated the world's best airport by the Airports Council International.