Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Low cost Bangkok-to-Mandalay flights announced

Tuesday, 07 August 2012 14:10 Mizzima News   

Thailand’s AirAsia will start direct Bangkok-to- Mandalay flights on Oct. 4, officials said.

The service is intended to place the low-cost carrier in a leadership position before the launch of Asean Economic Community in 2015, said company officials.

A Thai Air Asia A320 taxiing for departure. Photo:Passenger 32A / flickr

Tassapon Bijleveld, the chief executive officer of Thai AirAsia, told The Nation newspaper in Bangkok on Monday that four flights a week will be scheduled.

Passengers are expected to reach 70-75 per cent cabin capacity in the first three months before increasing to 80-85 per cent, said airline officials.

The airline said it would also like to provide flights to the capital, Naypyitaw, and to Bagan, besides its current three daily flights to Rangoon.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said the service complements its plan to promote the region as a single destination, where travellers can easily move from city to city. The agency is working with Burmese authorities on a joint cooperation plan.

Last year, 110,000 visitors from Burma came to Thailand, while 62,000 Thais went to Burma. Thai tourists to Myanmar are expected to rise 10 per cent next year and 13 per cent in the following year, according to TAT.

Mizzima reported in July that more international airlines are set to extend flights to Burma in October, according to domestic media reports.

The airlines include Taiwan’s EVA Air, South Korea's KAL, Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA), Hong Kong-based Dragonair and Qatar Airways, said the Yangon Times.

EVA will operate flights three times a week.

ANA will offer a Narita-Rangoon-Narita route three times a week and a charter flight between Tokyo and Rangoon. A Naypyitaw-Yangon- Hanoi-Tokyo route will also be launched using a Boeing 767.

Qatar Airways, which had suspended flights since 2008, will resume flights between Doha and Rangoon, reports said.

Meanwhile, airlines from Germany and Bangladesh have approached Burma's civil aviation authority about launching direct flights to Rangoon, officials said.

Flights between Rangoon and Manila are expected to be launched before the end of this year.

Currently, there are 13 foreign airlines flying to Rangoon: Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Thai Airways International, Indian Airlines, Air Asia, Taiwan region's China Airlines, Singapore's Silk Air, Malaysian Airlines, Bangkok Airways, Jetstar Asia and Vietnam Airlines.

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