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Aero Mongolia MO87 ULN-MXV | F50 Y Cabin | 08/13  
User currently offlineMIAT From United States of America, joined Jun 2013, 16 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 12726 times:

Having read countless trip reports, I am excited to finally bring you one of my own. This past summer, I returned to Mongolia to visit relatives and to get some much-needed R&R in the countryside. Hoping to escape from the endless traffic jams and dust of the capital Ulaanbaatar, I decided to go see the marvel that is Lake Khuvsgul in the northern part of the nation. Not only is it the largest fresh-water lake in Mongolia, it is also the largest lake by volume and the second largest by area. Although I would have preferred to drive up from Ulaanbaatar and enjoy the sights along the way, time was short and flying to Murun Airport (MXV) was the only option available.

Mongolia's commercial aviation industry consists of 4 scheduled airlines (MIAT, Hunnu Air, Eznis Airways, and Aero Mongolia). The largest and oldest is the state-owned MIAT Mongolian Airlines (Монголын Иргэний Агаарын Тээвэр), the national flag carrier which solely operates international flights to PEK, ICN, NRT, HKG, ERL, SVO, and TXL with a fleet of 2 B737-800 and 2 B767-300ER. The remaining carriers all fly both domestically and internationally. Hunnu Air (Хүннү Эйр) operates 3 Fokker 50s and 2 A319-100s and notably flies to DMK and HKG. Eznis Airways (Изинис Эйрвэйз) operates 3 Saab 340bs and 2 Dash 8-400Qs, flying internationally to HLD; its name means "Fly easy" since "nis" means "fly" in Mongolian. Aero Mongolia (Аэромонголиа), lastly, is the second oldest of the 4 carriers and operates 4 Fokker 50s to destinations such as HET and IKT.

Mongolia's domestic aviation market consists of flights to provincial capitals, such as Murun, Khovd City (HVD), Ulaangom (ULO), Olgii (ULG), Dalanzadgad (DLZ), Choibalsan (COQ), and Bayankhongor (BYN), in addition to mining settlements such as Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi. Hunnu Air, Eznis Airways, and Aero Mongolia all fly to Murun. Since it was the high season of the Mongolian tourism industry, all flights were packed and it was extremely difficult finding seats. After much searching, I finally decided on Aero Mongolia and went to the local ticket office in Ulaanbaatar. I should note that it is possible to purchase tickets online since Aero Mongolia and all the other carriers have online booking systems.

ULN is a small airport that is struggling to meet growing capacity requirement. Fortunately, it is to be replaced by a new airport in the first quarter of 2017.

The departures section of ULN is divided between international and domestic. The international side consists of 3 jetway-equipped gates, all of which share one large departure lounge. The domestic side also has one common departure lounge, from where passengers are bussed out to their respective planes.

I arrived at the airport about 2 hours prior to departure and quickly checked in. Aero Mongolia does not offer a premium class of service.

Domestic check-in area

Aero Mongolia check-in counter


Departures for the day. Aside from Air China, ULN is regularly served by Korean Air from ICN, Aeroflot from SVO, Turkish Airlines from /IST via FRU, and Tianjin Airlines from TSN via HET.

After checking my bags, I made my way through security, which was fast and seamless, and then waited for my flight to board. In addition to our flight, there were 2 Eznis Airways flights departing then, one to Oyu Tolgoi and the other to Ulgii/Ulaangom.

Domestic Departures Lounge


About 20 minutes prior our scheduled departure, the boarding process began and we were bussed off to the tarmac, where our Fokker 50 was parked alongside an Eznis Saab 340b and 2 Hunnu Air Fokker 50s.

On the bus

Air China, Eznis, and Hunnu Air

Eznis Dash 8 departing for Ulaangom/Olgii

Eznis Dash 8 off to Oyu Tolgoi

Turboprop line-up

Air China B738 to PEK

This Kuwait A346 is a common sight here in ULN

Boarding begins

Nice message from Aero Mongolia

We were warmly welcomed onboard by a young female attendant, who greeted every passenger with "Сайн байна уу" ("Hello" in Mongolian). The interior of our Fokker 50 was worn, but it was not surprising for an aircraft that has been in continual service for nearly 22 years.



Obligatory legroom shot

The seats were quite comfortable and legroom was sufficient. Once boarding was complete, a male flight attendant handed out newspapers. The load factor was about 40%, so there quite a number of open seats. The flight attendants subsequently did their safety demonstrations. The flight deck gave a short briefing soon after. All announcements were made in Mongolian and English.

The local newspaper

Safety card

After takeoff, we quickly leveled off into our cruising altitude and the flight attendants began the quick snack service for our flight. There was a wide selection of sodas and juices in addition to tea and coffee. Along with the beverage, we were served a flaky pastry roll and a chocolate bar that seemed to be a Turkish imitation of Kit-Kat.

A filling snack for the short flight

Trash was cleared about 10 minutes later, at which point visited the lavatory. It was was tidy but lacking in running water. I spent the remainder of the flight taking shots of landscapes below. The crew remained attentive throughout the flight, asking passengers repeatedly if they wanted anything else to drink/eat.

Mighty turboprop

Chiseled mountains


Pockets of agriculture


Snaking river


Patches of greenery


Before I knew it, we began our descent into MXV, which is the quintessential Mongolian provincial airport. The flight attendants went around one last time, offering a selection of hard sweets.

Approaching MXV

Winding roads

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineMIAT From United States of America, joined Jun 2013, 16 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 12685 times:


Arrivals area

Painting of Lake Khuvsgul at airport

Painting of MIAT 732. Interestingly, MIAT never operated the type.

View of the airport from the entrance

After collecting my bags, I met my local driver and we headed off to Lake Khuvsgul, which is about a 3 hours drive from the airport. I stayed at a tourist ger camp and I had an amazing time.

Ger camp

Majestic Lake Khuvsgul




The crystal clear water

The nearby "beach"

A reindeer of local Tsaatan people

Mongolian country life

Overall, I really enjoyed my flight with Aero Mongolia and it was a far cry from the flights I have taken in the US and even in other parts of Asia. I hope you all enjoyed my first trip report, and I look forward to hearing your comments.

User currently offlineaerdingus From Ireland, joined Dec 2006, 3186 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 12563 times:

Intriguing. Thanks for this report. The Fokker didn't look so bad for it's age. Aero Mongolia seems nice. I'd love to visit your country some day, that lake & the gers looked amazing.

Well done on a great first report  

Cabin crew blog http://dolefuldolegirl.blogspot.ie/
User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3754 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 12392 times:

Cool report on a rare airline! Mongolia has always fascinated me due to the culture/ethnicity. People look Asiatic (asian features/faces) however they have a Russian influence due to their geographic location. They are like a Chinese/Russian hybrid group...

[Edited 2013-10-11 18:14:09]

Support the beer and soda can industry, recycle old airplanes!
User currently offlineCdnCactus From Canada, joined Mar 2013, 236 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 11500 times:

Great first trip report, that's for sure. Those aerial shots are incredible - the landscape is amazing to look at. Lake Khuvsgul is indeed majestic.

Quoting MIAT (Reply 1):
Mongolian country life

The cattle almost got a bit of a yak look to it, no?

User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2333 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 11486 times:

Wow, MIAT, great report....

We don't see many reports from this large yet sparsely inhabited country. The scenery around the lake looks wonderful!

I just saw a MIAT 763 at TXL when I was there last week. I was intrigued.

Aero Mongolia definitely looks ok.

Thanks for your report, hope to see more in the future, Mongolia-related or not.


User currently offlineRyanairGuru From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 6956 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 11350 times:

My goodness, thank you for this great trip report!

This is both an airline and a country that I know very little about, so thankyou for sharing this. Aero Mongolia look like a great little airline for short flights, definitely superior to what's on offer in North America, and your destination photos are really pretty.


Worked Hard, Flew Right
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 11194 times:

Now this is a seriously cool report. I've always wanted to read more about aviation in Mongolia (and not only). Thank you for putting this together, it was a real treat.

Quoting MIAT (Thread starter):
ULN is a small airport that is struggling to meet growing capacity requirement. Fortunately, it is to be replaced by a new airport in the first quarter of 2017.

I had no idea that UB was getting a new airport. That's great.

Quoting MIAT (Thread starter):
Painting of MIAT 732. Interestingly, MIAT never operated the type.

Let's call it "artistic freedom" I guess  .

Quoting MIAT (Thread starter):
Majestic Lake Khuvsgul

Lovely! The color and clarity of the waters remind me of some places I visited recently in Epirus, Greece.

Thanks again,


Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlinepalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1241 posts, RR: 14
Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 10634 times:

Hi there

Great report and super pics. A very rare report featured here and thanks for the destination pics as well.

Mongolia seems to be going through a period of rapid development, reflected in the amount of aviation activity the country is now seeing and the number of links which are now offered to travellers.

The standard of onboard service on Aero Mongolia looked very good and nice to see you had a good time at the beautiful lake. Please post more !

Thanks again Palmjet

Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3781 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 10235 times:

Great report! Great effort for your first report! I don't think i've seen one covering Mongolia yet. Some of my old colleagues used to work in Mongolia (I was working in China), and they always said it was beautiful - your pictures confirm this - I'd love to go someday!

Quoting MIAT (Thread starter):
This Kuwait A346 is a common sight here in ULN

How come? Seems like an off visitor!

http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LGW-VLC-LGW-MLE-LGW-SVQ-LGW,STN-ATH-LHR,LGW-OPO-LGW,LTN-CPH-LHR-ORD
User currently offlineeastafspot From France, joined Jan 2008, 912 posts, RR: 20
Reply 10, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 9537 times:

Hello there!

Thank you very much for this thorough trip report! I really loved it! It isn't that often that we a.netters get to see a Aero Mongolia TR!

The photos are great, and the report is well detailed. well done!

Welcome to the TRs community!  

[Edited 2013-10-17 11:27:28]

Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
User currently offlineMIAT From United States of America, joined Jun 2013, 16 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 8874 times:

Thank you everyone for your feedback! Sorry for the late response. I just wanted to respond to some of your comments and questions.

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 3):
They are like a Chinese/Russian hybrid group...

Not by any means. Mongolia may be a buffer nation between Russia and China, but Mongol culture is far from a fusion of Russian and Chinese cultural elements. I should point out that the term "Mongolian" represents a nationality, whereas "Mongol" represents an ethnic identity. The Mongol people do not live exclusively in Mongolia; there are large populations in both China and Russia.

Quoting CdnCactus (Reply 4):
The cattle almost got a bit of a yak look to it, no?

Haha it's probably a hybrid. Yaks are common in many parts of Mongolia.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 7):
I had no idea that UB was getting a new airport. That's great.

Yea, I am personally very excited. The new airport is being financed by a low-interest long-term loan from the Japanese government and its construction is being carried out by a joint venture between Mitsubishi Construction and Chiyoda Corporation. There are some interesting renderings available online. My only gripe about the project is that only 5 or 6 jetway-equipped gates are planned for the initial phase, and I don't think that's enough to cope with Mongolian's rapidly growing aviation industry.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 10):
How come? Seems like an off visitor!

The Kuwaiti royal family is very interested in falconry, and they've been coming every summer for at least the past ~6 years to take part in the sport and procure trained falcons for their use back home. Moreover, the Mongolian people who specialize in falconry are primarily of Kazah ethnicity, and they are sunni-Muslim, the same denomination as the Kuwaiti royal family. As a result, the Kuwaitis have been pouring a lot of money into developing Bayan Olgii, the part of Mongolia where most Mongolian Kazakhs live.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 10):
It isn't that often that we a.netters get to see a Aero Mongolia TR!

Merci beaucoup! J’ai entendu parler que MIAT lancera un nouveau service à Paris l’été prochain.

User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2868 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 7693 times:

Great Tr, always nice to read from such "exotic" airlines and places! Well done!

User currently offlineglobalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1047 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 7624 times:

Really awesome and unique trip report. That area of the Lake region was stunning.Thanks for sharing! Cheers, Will

Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
User currently offlineCARST From Germany, joined Jul 2006, 1184 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7480 times:

What an amazing report! Everything seems so untouched over there in Mogolia, what a landscape! Interesting airplanes, too, on different airlines. I wonder why not more a.nutters post reports about that place?! Just another dot on my to-do-map!

Good quality photos, too, what I like very much, keep posting these reports MIAT!


User currently offlinestipica From Croatia, joined Feb 2011, 427 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 6937 times:


Quoting MIAT (Thread starter):
Having read countless trip reports, I am excited to finally bring you one of my own

speechless and it is very rare that I am in that status hehehe ... this is a pure Pearl for opening career ... what I love about A.net that somebody always put focus on something new and different ...
thank you and congratulations stipica  

Open your eyes and think
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