93% of airstrip construction complete
165 prospective partners identified
633,000 tonnes of earth and rock moved in 2020
Myanmar is a country undergoing a lot of change, and is faced with many internal challenges after being “closed” since 1962. November 2015 saw the first free elections since 1948, with a landslide victory electing a democratic government to replace the junta government that had previously been in power.
Geographic isolation is a huge challenge for Myanmar, where 70% of the 53 million population live in rural areas and account for almost 85% of those living in poverty in the country.
• A quarter of all rural villages do not have road access
• Almost 75% rural villages do not have access to electricity
People living in rural areas have less access to safe drinking water and sanitation, and the children are more likely to be chronically under-nourished compared to those living in urban areas.
In addition, Myanmar is among the top three countries in the world most vulnerable to extreme weather events.
In 2016 MAF began working with Health and Hope and the Lailenpi community in Chin State to design and build an airstrip. The airstrip will provide the isolated people of the area access to the outside world, particularly during the annual wet season which lasts for around five months and has previously rendered them cut off.
In May 2019 a ground-breaking ceremony was held in Lailenpi. During the rainy season steady progress was made on excavating the site. Once the rains ended more equipment was brought in and work continued at a faster rate. By July 2020 the construction was 75% complete, reaching 93% completion before the monsoon season in March 2021.
As well as building the airstrip at Lailenpi, MAF was invited to join the Transport and Communications Sector Coordination Group and has a seat at the table to encourage the Union Government and Development Partners on issues regarding Rural Aviation. MAF has also begun the process to apply for an Air Operators Certificate with a view to operating flights to isolated communities like Lailenpi.