First plane lands at Surbung Airport
27 October 2020 – A much-awaited scene of the first plane landing at Surbung Airport near Falam town of Chin State was witnessed today with a crowd of dignitaries, which included the vice president of Myanmar, flanked by State Chief Minister, government cabinet members and community leaders in attendance.
Welcomed by Vice President Henry Van Thio and Chief Minister Salai Lian Luai together with other State ministers, the Myanmar National Airlines flight touched down at the first airport of Chin State at 10:30am as part of the planned landing test.
U Soe Htet, State minister of Development Affairs, Electricity and Industry, said that the test was a success, adding: “The airport construction is completed but the eastern end of the runway needs a bit more work to be done for a longer-term purpose.”
The ATR-72 flight carried 25 persons onboard, including crew members led by Captain Khup Khan Mung, the chief operating officer at MNA, and left for Yangon after 12 noon.
Despite the successful testing of the first landing and take-off, Surbung Airport would not start its operations and services due to COVID-19 restrictions, according to the State government.
Once officially open, Surbung will serve as the first airport in Myanmar’s least developed state sharing international borders with India and Bangladesh.
The Myanmar parliament officially gave the nod to the construction of Chin State’s first airport only in 2015, although many proposals were made at much earlier time, including as part of the bilateral ceasefire agreement between the Chin National Front (CNF) and the previous USDP government.
Mount Surbung, previously used as a temporary airfield by the British forces before independence, stands at 6,352 feet above sea level, making it the highest elevated airport in Myanmar. – Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang with Cer Len Ci and Naomy VT Chin