Posts: 533
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2005 8:32 am

Myanmar Aviation

Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:44 pm

I don't seem to find topics and discussion regarding Myanmar and its aviation, so here it goes.

With growth/booming prospects of civil aviation in the region (South Asia/Pacific Rim), I find odd that Myanmar has made very little progress, if at all. The national airlines, MAI, has fleet like 2 737 serving BKK, DEL, KUL like 2-3 times a week. I don't buy into politics (China has similar type of govt), I'm just bewildered a bit.

What types of potential do MAI have (also imagine their livery on wide-bodies)? Besides promoting tourism for Myanmar, it can conveniently serve as a connecting point between Eastern India and East/Southeast Asia, possibly even to US/Europe (if it can absorb some passengers from DAC and CCU), the current once weekly CCU-RGN by IC is a complete joke, perhaps there're other things I haven't heard of.
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:08 am

RE: Myanmar Aviation

Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:41 pm

The leader of the National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi has requested a boycott on tourism in the country until it is free, so it's hardly surprising that there is not much commercial aviation activity there. Most people, as interested as they may be in visiting, respect her wishes. Also why you may find it hard (pretty much impossible in fact) to find any travel guides or tour packages for the country.
pumping up the jam
Posts: 1589
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 8:11 pm

RE: Myanmar Aviation

Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:23 pm

Probably most tourists who visit Myanmar travel to Yangon from Bangkok. I have never been there myself (yet), so I can't tell much about what it is like. Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways fly to Yangon and you can easily buy a package tour at virtually any Thai travel agent. Most tours only include Yangon but some go up-country to Mandalay as well.

I wonder how well Qatar Airways is doing with their Yangon-flight?
Posts: 2106
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 8:23 pm

RE: Myanmar Aviation

Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:07 pm

Burma's economy is a complete mess whil the economies of countries around it are booming, the once-weekly IC flight is possibly the best way of getting there. MAI is also the cheapest way of getting from DEL to BKK, a ticket recently cost a friend under Rs 10,000.
been there, flown that
Posts: 136
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 3:33 am

RE: Myanmar Aviation

Thu Feb 23, 2006 10:57 pm

The potential is great...if they can get their politics in order.

The country is very rich in resources (including hydrocarbons) and has very high tourism potential with amazing culture (esp Bagan) and natural sites (from hiking in the Himalayas to great beaches on the Andaman coast). The trouble, as some have pointed out is the politics which discourages serious foreign investment as consumers world-wide boycott all things Myanmar, bad infrastructure (except for the biggest white elephant I have ever seen - a 5-gate 747 ready airport in Mandalay), and Aung San Suu Kyi's request for people to stay away.

I think most foreign visitors tend to avoid the national, government owned airline, Myanmar Airways. Apart from the political connection, the airline also tends to be badly run. Most international visitors tend to prefer Air Mandalay which is privately owned by a foreign company It uses ATR 42s or 72s. Other private operators include Air Bagan. Both of these tend to be small operators runnign principally trunk domestic routes. When I flew Air Mandalay domestically last year, 80% of the travellers were foreign.

Overseas visitors would probably tend to fly from BKK on Thai (they have 14x weekly on AB3 but also 14x code-shares with myanmar aviation) or the daily connection on silk air from SIN. Air Mandalay also has a couple of flights a week from Chiang Mai.

Hope this adds to the discussion!

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