COVID-19 Pandemic Delays Completion Of Airport In Chin State

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Completion of the long-awaited Surbung Airport in Burma’s Chin State has been delayed, while officials await Western expertise to arrive to assist in completing the final tests.

Chin State government spokesperson Soe Htet says that ninety-five percent of the airport near Falam town is done, but tests on the communication system and runway still need to be completed. The COVID-19 pandemic and weather conditions delayed construction.

“Construction of the flight runway, airport building and communication tower is completed. Water and electricity have already been installed,” he says.

Soe Htet says because they bought communication technology from the US, an American specialist needs to test it but can’t because of the pandemic. “After our communication system has been tested, our airport will be 100 percent complete.”

The airport planned a flight test run this month, but heavy rainfall has made it impossible and its delayed plans.

When completed, Surbung Airport is the first airport in Chin State. Construction on the facility, located 6,000 feet above sea level, started in 2015 and cost 34 billion kyat (US$24.34 million).

The runway is 6,000 ft in length and 100 ft in width. It accommodates an ATR-72 aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of 50,000 pounds. There is a 200 ft long and 100 ft wide extended runway.

In previous years, a budget shortfall delayed construction of the airport.

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