Myanmar’s Air Developments
Myanmar is a fascinating destination, which has been discovered by millions of tourists in recent years. There are several luxury hotels in Yangon and colonial-style properties in Mandalay, in order to meet the high demand for accommodation. In addition, Myanmar’s visa rules have been made easier and visitors from certain destinations can get their visas on arrival. All of that take effect in tourist arrival numbers.
The prediction is for an increase in annual visitors to 6,000,000 in 2017. By 2030, the number of passengers is expected to rise to 30 million. However, such growth in tourism really depends on infrastructure improvements.
There is a need for better airport infrastructure to cope with the development in the tourism industry. The large distances between the major cities and attractions, require air developments during the upcoming years. Because of that, Myanmar’s aviation industry has opened its doors to foreign investments.
Companies have recognized the huge potential of hotels in Yangon and other tourism-related businesses and are seeking for investment opportunities. The fast-growing airline industry in Myanmar, attracts many international air companies to increase their services to the country, which seems as the most underserved market in Southeast Asia.
There are eight airlines in Myanmar: Air Mandalay, Air KBZ, GMA, Yangon Airways, Air Bagan, Asia Wings and Mann Yadanapon. Three of them are already interested in running airports in Myanmar. Myanmar Airways International will buy new aircraft, in response to the massive increase in tourism. There will be also more flights from Yangon, Mandalay and the capital Nay Pyi Daw.
The first airplane of Mann Yadanapon airline landed in Yangon International Airport. A brand-new ATR 72-600 aircraft based, has started flying to domestic destinations such as Yangon, Nyaung and Heho. The new aircraft has arrived from Toulouse, France where it was manufactured. The second plane will arrive in Yangon at the end of March, and the third plane will arrive in November. Currently, more than 20 foreign airlines are operating in Myanmar. Bangkok Airways, for example, has launched new services to Myanmar’s capital Nay Pyi Daw.
Myanmar has 49 airports, three international and 46 domestic. Last year, there was a record of 4,000,000 visitors in domestic airports across Myanmar. The highest number of visitors landed in Yangon International Airport, followed by Mandalay International Airport and Heho Airport. By April 2014, Myanmar airports, including the state-of-the-art airport in the capital Nay Pyi Daw, will transfer to private sector use and will be open for foreign international investors.
Private investors have been invited to upgrade 30 domestic airlines in Myanmar. Initial access to this market has granted for Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and China. Myanmar is also considered as a key market for low-cost carriers, as many workers in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Thailand are from Myanmar.