Since taking over the operations in 2015 under a public private partnership, Yangon Aerodrome Company Limited (YACL) has a very clear mission – to set a new standard for a high-performance and safe airport operating with a service culture that emphasises customer experience. This mission is being fulfilled by constant upgrades and enhancements, raising technical and safety standards and building a team of young, dynamic Myanmar management who will be the leaders of tomorrow.

Yangon International Airport (YIA) welcomed its five-millionth passenger arrival in November 2018. At the time of writing, YIA was expected to close 2018 with passenger arrivals that will surpass last year’s 5.92 million. Although the country has experienced slower visitor growth in 2018 due to lower arrival figures from European and North America markets, YIA and its management are working closely with relevant stakeholders in the tourism industry to prepare for future growth.

Improve connectivity

From 21 international and 27 local destinations, YIA now connects to 29 international and 28 domestic destinations while handling seven domestic airlines and operating 31 international airlines. Myanmar had for years remained relatively undiscovered by international travellers. Its unique mix of Buddhist and cultural heritage, ethnic diversity and natural beauty has all the attributes of a significant Asian tourist destination. Together with pent-up demand for business and investment activity after years of economic isolation, this means that air travel is poised to grow significantly.

Tourism is an important sector for growth in Myanmar. Hence, YIA has been and continues to work closely with the Ministry of Hotels & Tourism to increase passenger traffic (including addressing perceptions of the country’s domestic issues) and to increase international air connectivity. It sees significant opportunities to increase the market for meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE). All these will involve stepped-up activities to more actively market to international air carriers and developing sister airport linkages. YIA expects to connect with additional international airlines in 2019.

On 1 November 2018, the Italian airline Neos Spa started operations for a scheduled Boeing 767 flight from Milan to Yangon (with a stopover in Phu Quoc, Vietnam). It is the first airline to fly from Europe to Myanmar, and will no doubt be the precursor to many more flights from Europe. Apart from being the largest airport by far it is also the main international air gateway for all of Myanmar. YIA has also begun discussions with Turkish Airlines and Qantas Airways to establish direct flights between Yangon and Istanbul and Sydney, respectively, in the near future.

Infrastructure upgrades

Since early 2018, YACL has embarked on several enhancements to improve airport infrastructure and increase service levels to provide the best travel experience for its passengers. Some 11 airlines were scheduled to move to T1 from T2 as it went under renovation for the opening of its inter-terminal connection in July 2018. The connector was the first step to link both international terminals in the future for a seamless experience for YIA’s business and international passengers.

A full revision of the airport layout is being conducted, which also includes the parking stands revision to improve safety measures.

Two major enhancements were the upgraded Apron A and B, which can accommodate up to 32 aircraft alongside the terminal buildings at YIA as well as the two new taxiways. The revamped Apron A allows eight positions for A320 and B737 types or ten positions for propeller aircraft. The airport is able to handle widebody aircrafts like B777-300ER and A350, and current capacity enables YIA to accommodate growth needs with a single runway.

From 62,937 movements in October 2015, YIA has increased movements up to 77,000 in 2018. With enhancements and upgrade it has now has the potential to handle up to 170,000 movements per year.

Over the next two to three years, YACL’s plans 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 that will include technological upgrades.

Setting the standard for high performance and safety

In September 2018, YIA completed and launched the Airport Operation Command Center (AOCC). With the operation of the AOCC, YIA is able to apply the Airport Collaborative Decision- Making concept improving the overall airport management efficiency of its operations through optimisation of resources. Efficiency and safety have increased. AOCC is able to improve safety and security levels at YIA as well as air-side management.

The management uses a prediction tool that includes timely alerts on historic data, KPIs and algorithms that promotes strategic insights and helps the management make informed decisions to better control operations. Aside from this, information is shared among the airport stakeholders allowing for better communication and strategic decision-making. YIA has begun training talented and hardworking Myanmar managers to operate the AOCC.

Groom local talent

YACL’s biggest asset is its people. With a strong forward-thinking strategy, YACL has invested in training Myanmar nationals. Many are excited by the opportunities and see a career at YIA as offering good prospects while contributing to national development. YACL’s biggest asset is its people.

YIA seeks to leverage itself with its employees and their skill sets. YIA actively enrolls its staff to ACI, ACI GSN-Safety and Security and ICAO courses to develop a foundation for institutional know-how and to build professional capacity. Aside from this, YIA provides trainings such as Ab Initio trainings – the initial stage for a flight training process.