Carriers converge on Mandalay-Bangkok route
Mandalay residents eager to visit Bangkok will be spoilt for choice next month when Myanmar National Airways and Myanmar Airways International both launch flights.
MANDALAY residents eager to visit Bangkok will have a bevy of new flight options next month. Myanmar National Airways (MNA) will begin offering thrice-weekly flights from August 31, just a day before Myanmar Airways International (MAI) is scheduled to begin its own Mandalay-Bangkok route.
Competition is intense in Myanmar’s airline industry, which comprises the two international carriers – MNA and MAI – and nine firms that offer only international flights. Those nine internal airlines mostly fight over the same routes with similar schedules and fare structures.
The two international carriers, meanwhile, compete against each other, along with budget and national carriers in other regional countries. Foreign airlines are all allowed access to Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw routes, with some restrictions on frequency.
National carrier MNA already flies from Yangon to Bangkok and back again daily. The firm is now hoping to tap into demand from passengers in the country’s second largest city for the same trip, CEO Captain Than Tun told The Myanmar Times.
From August 31, flights on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Yangon to Bangkok will also stop at Mandalay, he said.
The morning route will be Yangon-Mandalay-Bangkok, and the evening route Bangkok-MandalayYangon, he said. The Yangon-Bangkok return route on Tuesdays and Thursdays will continue unchanged.
Meanwhile, MAI will start its own three-times-a-week Mandalay-Bangkok route a day later. Those return flights will run on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
Daw Aye Mra Tha, MAI’s head of marketing and public relations, said the airline had applied several months ago for the new route, and before MNA.
“It’s a competitive business,” she said, adding there were no restrictions on airlines adopting similar routes.
Capt Than Tun said MNA was only in competition with itself, not other airlines, and was focused on providing better safety and services for its customers.
Myanmar’s two international airlines are also eyeing other international routes to add to their menus. Capt Than Tun told The Myanmar Times in March that MNA had booked slots for direct flights to Shanghai and Chengdu in China, which he expected to start this year. But discussions on these routes are still taking place, and it was not confirmed when they would start, he said yesterday.
MAI, meanwhile, has already applied to offer a direct flight to Kolkata in India, which is hoping to start in October, Daw Aye Mra Tha said.