Myanmar builds new Surbung Airport in mountainous northwestern Chin state

Construction News Myanmar
An aerial view Surbung Airport that is currently under construction in Falam, Chin State. Photo: MNA

Myanmar builds new Surbung Airport in mountainous northwestern Chin state

26 November 2019

Myanmar is building an airport in the far-flung mountainous Falam township of Chin state to bring more tourists to the region. the Department of Civil Aviation has said.

The authorities are using a state budget of 19.93 billion kyats (13.28 million U.S. dollars) for the first phase of the Surbung Airport project, according to the Department of Civil Aviation late on Monday.

Runways, terminals and navigation facilities are being built and 58.3 percent of the airport construction work are said to have been completed.

The airport runway extends 1,800 meters in length and 30 meters in width.

It is hard for people to move within the state due to the lack of reliable transport infrastructure and in the monsoon season, landslide and floods make it almost impossible to travel.

Chin state, having nine townships, remains one of the least developed in Myanmar due to a lack of proper transport and infrastructure.

Upon completion of the airport, the state will be accessible from Yangon within hours. Meanwhile, the regional government is also planning to open smaller airports in Tiddim, Tonzang and Hakha townships.



Surbung Airport, the high altitude gateway to Chin State

Located in the northwest of Myanmar, the 13907-squaremile Chin State is decorated with rhododendrons, cherries and various species of orchids and bluish mountains and ranges, almost touching the grey and white clouds, floating high in sky.

Chin State is formed with Kanpetlet, Mindat, Paletwa, Matupi, Haka, Thantlang, Falam, Tiddim and Tonzang townships. Its capital city is Haka, and the second capital is Matupi. Kaladan and Laymyo are two famous rivers of the state.

Poor transport
Chin State, with its natural beauties and breathtaking mountainous terrain, can be visited only by motorcar through Kalay its main territorial entry point. Although transport is smooth and swift in the open season, downpours occasionally trigger landslides along the mountain road during the monsoons. As road transport is the only means of access to reach Chin State, it takes much time and efforts to travel between the state and other places of the Union.

A new airport
The building of Surbung Airport in Falam Township will complete soon. The airport will solve the transport difficulty of the mountainous state, apart from helping improve social health, administrative, economic, trade and tourism sectors and emergency relief measure.

A field study of the map of the airport project area, an old airport used during the World War II, regional situation and requirements have already been conducted. Moreover, an aerial survey of the perimeter in connection the limits in the aviation sector have also conducted with a Caravan Cessna, a light civilian aircraft. Experts also made technical calculations to ascertain the safety of the runway for takeoffs and landing and the Access & Circuit Pattern and ascending and descending air traffic. The project also covers the work of measuring the distance of the nearest airport, the degree of visibility and wind speed and direction and implementing urban, infrastructure and economic development programs for the increasing future population of the area. The Surbung Airport has been implemented on a 1289.5-acre land in Falam Township at a cost of K 32.36 billion and USD 1.19 million. As the project is almost completed, the airport will be put into service soon.

The Department of Aviation drew the geometric design of the airport, the runway and the apron, and the design of the terminal, the air traffic control tower and fire department building of the airport. The inspection and quality control department of the Ministry of Construction and the Department of Aviation have jointly taken the responsibility of the structural designing and standardization processes. It is planned to complete the first phase of the project in fiscal year 2020-2021. Surbung Airport project has been implemented under the directive of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and the close supervision of the Department of Aviation. The work was led by the engineers of the airport standardization division, with the participation of airports administration division, air transport division, flight control and inspection division and flight safety division. The project has a taskforce of 166 units of heavy equipment and a workforce of 300 personnel.

With might and main
A 6000-foot long and 100-foot wide tarred runway is being built to handle the takeoffs and touchdowns of ART-72 commercial planes. Moreover, there will be a tarred taxiway and a 250-foot by 250-foot apron. The project also involves the construction of the Slope Stability Gabion Retaining Wall through Compaction Method, the 156-foot by 84-foot terminal, the air control tower and other related works. The Chin State government is giving close supervision of the project.

Smooth transport
Up to now, Chin State has no airport. So, after the completion of the Surbung Airport project in Falam Township, it will become an entry and exit point of the state. Internal and international travellers can reach the state in a short time, and the locals will be able to travel to other places of the Union conveniently and swiftly.

Surbung Airport is situated in the middle of Chin State and towns such as Falam, Haka, Thantlang and Tiddim and can connect all airports in states and regions.

The first ever airport for Chin State is a part of efforts by the Union Government for making the transportation smooth in the hills of Chin State which was not easily accessible by road.
Surbung Airport will become the air Gateway of Chin State and will enable visitors to reach Chin State in a short travel time.

The project was started in 2013 and construction began in 2015. Falam Airport is situated on Surbung mountain range 8.5 miles northwest of Falam Town and is at an altitude of 6,000 ft. above sea level. The airport runway is 6,000 ft long and 100 ft wide and is a Flexible Pavement type runway.

Thanks to the Surbung Airport in Falam Township, which is located in the centre of Chin State, travelers can easily travel to principle destinations of the state such as Falam, Haka, Thantlang and Tiddim towns and Loni Mountain and Reed Lake. Additionally, ethnic brethren of the state can be able to fly to many other airports of the country in a very short time.

The airport project is under implementation at present. But when completed it will be much helpful for the economic, health, administrative, social, trade and tourism sectors of the Chin State as well as the whole country. For example, patients suffering from diseases which cannot be cured in Chin State can be conveyed to the hospitals of other places where they can be treated. Moreover, air transport will be a useful tool for all emergency cases including health, search and rescue and disaster relief and rehabilitation undertakings of the government and the public. In this way, lives can be saved and the public hardships can be lessened to a certain degree.

The Surbung Airport will help uplift the socio-economic condition, and help connect locals with the rest of the country. If there is all-sector development in Chin State, it will be supportive to implementing the Union’s goals — equitable progress in the whole country and reduction of the gap in infrastructure between the plains and the mountains.

With the completion of the Surbung Airport, the transport access to the state would be improved and the state would see booming of its tourism sector.

At present, transport is more difficult in Chin state, when compared with its counterparts as it is a mountainous region. But, our brethren form other places of the Union can reach the state withing a short when the airport is completed. Come and visit Chin State, and enjoy its natural beauties and hospitality of its people when the airport is completed.