By Swe Oo Wai, (Translated by Than Tun Aung)
Now is time of beefing up development tasks in all parts of Myanmar including hilly areas and remote sites. Despite facing impacts of pandemic Covid-19 similar to other global countries, Myanmar is undertaking development tasks in line with the health guidelines as much as it can. Especially, infrastructures are being built in hilly areas which lagged development behind other regions and states. Currently, one more new aviation infrastructure is under construction in Chin State with 75 per cent completion with the aim of ensuring smooth transportation and contributing much to tourism sector and other businesses in the state.
Such kind of new aviation facility takes a position in Lailenpi Town of Matupi Township in Matupi District of Chin State. It will be a small airstrip only. Construction of the airstrip started in May 2019. Implementation of the airstrip project was approved by Union Government meeting 12/2017, according to Chin State government.
Lailenpi airstrip is located at an altitude of 4,918 feet. The runway of the airstrip will be 2,500 feet long and 50 feet wide. The airstrip will have facilitated with a 150 feet long and 200 feet wide apron for landing of the aircraft.
It was learnt that construction of Lailenpi airstrip is being undertaken in southern Chin State with assistance of Mission Aviation Fellowship-MAF. Hence, it will be the first ever airstrip built in Myanmar with cent per cent monetary and technological assistance given by an international aviation organization.
In fact, Chin State having plentiful of natural beauties is an origin of natural resources which can help develop the tourism industry with momentum. Smooth transport is of great importance in creating chances for bringing about the improvement of customs and traditions of ethnic people and their daily lifestyle, and the creation of new destinations for tourists. As such, the government is rendering assistance for fulfilling needs of people as much as it can. Consequently, a new airstrip is scheduled to emerge in Chin State.
In the future, Lailenpi airstrip will render more support to health care services to be given to local ethnic people residing in southern Chin State. Thanks to the airstrip, local ethnic people will have to enjoy health care services and emergency transportation for rescue in natural disasters.
In reviewing construction of the airports in Chin State, Lailenpi airstrip will be the second facility of its kind. The first one was Surbung Airport built at 7,175 feet higher than the sea level, which is located 8.5 miles from Falam of Chin State as well as about 40 miles from Haka. Moreover, the airport takes a position, about 50 miles from Reed border trade camp at Myanmar-India border area. In addition, the airport was built on 6,000 feet high Surbung mountain near Lonpi Hill in Chin State, it is the highest airport in Myanmar.
The runway of Surbung Airport can withstand 50,000 lbs of load. So, it can admit landing and takeoff of ATR-72 aircraft. The airport is facilitated with a 6,000 feet long and 100 feet wide runway. The lounge of the airport can give services to about 250 passengers. The first landing test of ATR-72 was conducted on the runway of Surbung Airport on the morning of 27 October 2019.
The ground surveys and creation of designs for Surbung Airport, the first-ever airport of Chin State, were conducted in 2015-16 financial year. The airport was built depending on allotment of budgets in respective financial years. Surbung Airport will be a focal point in Chin State to have direct aviation access for local people to Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw so as to contribute much to development of Chin State.
So also, the stake driving ceremony to build the second one Lailenpi airstrip took place on 4 May 2020. The airstrip is purposed to admit landing and takeoff of aircraft which can carry 20 passengers each. Thanks to the new airstrip, local and foreign travellers will have convenience in their visits to Chin State.
Enjoying fruitful results of aviation infrastructures such as airports in Chin State, travellers and businesspersons from Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay will have chance to make a day trip to Chin State in a short time. Moreover, local ethnic people will have better facilities of emergency health care services by transferring the patients to major cities such as Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay if necessary.
The authorities decided to spend US$2 million on construction of Lailenpi airstrip in Matupi Township of southern Chin State. As the construction will complete soon, it will be the facility to help develop Chin State.