Mandalay International Airport

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Mandalay International Airport
မန္တလေး အပြည်ပြည်ဆိုင်ရာ လေဆိပ်
Mandalay Airport.JPG
Airport type Public
Owner Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Operator Mitsubishi Corporation, JALUX Inc., SPA Project Management Ltd. (for 30 years bid)
Serves Mandalay
Location Tada-U
Mandalay Region, Myanmar
Elevation AMSL 91 m / 299 ft
Coordinates 21°42′08″N 095°58′41″E / 21.70222°N 95.97806°E / 21.70222; 95.97806Coordinates: 21°42′08″N 095°58′41″E / 21.70222°N 95.97806°E / 21.70222; 95.97806
MDL is located in Myanmar
Location of airport in Myanmar
Direction Length Surface
ft m
17/35 14,003 4,268 Concrete
Statistics (2017)
Passengers 1,290,000 Increase[1]
International Passengers 430,000[1]
Capacity 3 million passengers per year[2]
Mandalay International Airport - view from the carpark

Mandalay International Airport (Burmese: မန္တလေး အပြည်ပြည်ဆိုင်ရာ လေဆိပ်; (IATA: MDL, ICAO: VYMD)), located 35 km south of Mandalay in Tada-U, is one of only three international airports in Myanmar. Completed in 1999, the airport was the largest and most modern airport in the country until the modernization of Yangon International Airport in 2008, the airport connects 11 domestic and four international destinations, complete with a 4267-meter runway which is the longest runway in use in Southeast Asia and capacity to handle up to 3 million passengers a year. It is the main operating base of Golden Myanmar Airlines.[3]


The Mandalay International Airport project was first conceived by the Burmese military government in the mid 1990s as a way to increase overall levels of foreign investment and tourism in Myanmar. With Yangon boasting the only other international airport for the whole country, the new Mandalay airport was regarded as crucial in achieving a planned 10% annual passenger growth. The hope was for Mandalay to become a hub for flights to other major Asian cities, in particular Beijing, Hanoi, Bangkok, Calcutta and Dhaka.[3]

Construction of the airport began in 1996, and the airport was officially opened in September 2000 at a cost of US$150 million. The project was financed through a long-term loan from the Thai ExIm Bank.

The largest and most modern international airport in Myanmar hasn't met the high expectations in the past; instead it has come to represent the military junta's money-wasting white elephant projects.

Due to the ongoing reforms in Myanmar, the airport experienced an increase in traffic, especially daily flights to Bangkok and to China. Since 2010, domestic passenger traffic through Mandalay has been increasing by 20% every year, while growth in international flights has been up to 60% annually.

On 16 November 2014, a consortium of Mitsubishi Group and an affiliate from Japan Airlines signed a concession agreement with the Myanmar government to operate the airport for 30 years. The joint firm will undertake the operation, rehabilitation and maintenance of airport facilities, including terminal buildings and runway, excluding air traffic control, with the operations scheduled to begin around March 2015. The agreement aims to generate further expansion of domestic and international flights to Mandalay and to increase passenger traffic through the airport.[2]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Myanmar National Airlines Boeing 737-800 at Mandalay International Airport
Air IndiaImphal
Air KBZ Bhamo, Bagan, Heho, Kalemyo, Myitkyina, Tachileik, Yangon
Air Mandalay Myitkyina, Yangon
Asian Wings Airways Bagan, Heho, Yangon
Bangkok Airways Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Chiang Mai
China Eastern Airlines Guangzhou, Kunming
Donghai Airlines Shenzhen[4]
FMI Air Bagan, Naypyidaw, Yangon
Golden Myanmar AirlinesBagan, Bhamo, Heho, Kengtung, Myitkyina, Tachilek, Thandwe, Yangon
Mann Yatanarpon Airlines Yangon, Bagan, Heho, Thandwe, Kengtung, Tachilek, Myitkyina
Myanmar Airways International Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Myanmar Airways International Yangon
Myanmar National Airlines Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Hong Kong,[5]Singapore
Myanmar National Airlines Bhamo, Kalemyo, Kengtung, Khamti, Myitkyina, Naypyidaw, Pakokku, Tachilek, Thandwe, Yangon
Sichuan Airlines Kunming[6]
SilkAir Singapore
Thai AirAsia Bangkok–Don Mueang
Thai Smile Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Yangon Airways Bagan, Bhamo, Heho, Kalemyo, Kengtung, Lashio, Myitkyina, Naypyidaw, Tachileik, Yangon

Airport facilities[edit]

Opened on 17 September 2000, the terminal building can handle 1,000 passenger arrivals and 1,000 passenger departures per hour. The capacity of the airport is estimated to be 3 million passengers per annum, with expansion capacity to more than 15 million.[7] The site occupies a total area of 10,123 hectares and is located in central Myanmar about 35 kilometers south of Mandalay near the town of Tada-U. The journey from the airport to the city center of Mandalay takes approximately an hour by car.[3][8]

The concrete runway at Mandalay Airport is 4267 meters long and 61 meters wide, and long enough for any size of commercial aircraft to land. The car park accommodates 700 vehicles.[3][7]

The terminal is fitted with air conditioning, fire protection and emergency power generating systems. It is also equipped with six passenger lifts, one freight lift, three escalators and a baggage handling system. Three out of the six passenger boarding bridges can handle modern Boeing 747-400 aircraft. There is sufficient space for ten aircraft to anchor, and at a rate of 8 minutes per plane, aircraft of any size and make can touch down or take off to any destination abroad. MAGS (Mandalay Airport Ground Services) provides both passenger and cargo aircraft ground services.

Systems incorporated into the airport include VHF and HF SSB transmitters and receivers, a voice communication control system, an automatic terminal information system (ATIS), and an aeronautical fixed telecommunications network. The air traffic control tower is equipped with a variety of radar and navigation systems.

Passenger Facilities[edit]

Passenger Facilities: 36 check-in desks, 8 gates, 6 air-bridges, 3 baggage claim belts, 11 short-term parking spaces, 6 long-term parking spaces, Post Office, Bank, Bureau de Change, Restaurant, VIP Lounge, Duty Free Shop, Newsagent/Tobacconists, Travel Agent, Tourist Help Desk, Car Rental.


Passengers Change from previous year Movements
2016 500,000
2017 1,290,000 Increase0264%
Source: [9]

Operator Changes[edit]

Airport operations and maintenance are handled by a joint venture of Mitsubishi Corporation, JALUX Inc., and SPA Project Management Ltd., which won a bid in 2013 to upgrade and operate the airport for 30 years.[10] The previous operator was Myanmar's Ministry of Transport. In August 2013, the vendor technical team started the inspection of the airport[11] to develop an airport Master Plan that included airport services and cargo-handling areas as well as anticipating future needs such as extending the airport’s buildings.