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AirAsia plans big for Myanmar

Posted in ASEAN, Aviation, Tourism by Sherpa Hossainy on July 10, 2013

To launch Bangkok-Nay Pyi Taw flights from October

Published in Myanmar Business Today (Vol 1, Issue 20) on June 20, 2013


Malaysia-based low-cost carrier AirAsia is aiming big for Myanmar as it announced to launch daily flights between Bangkok and Nay Pyi Taw from October and targets to move 500,000 passengers this year to the recently-opened Southeast Asian country.

Anthony F Fernandes, Group chief executive of AirAsia, announced AirAsia’s expansion plans at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia in Nay Pyi Taw recently.

Tony Fernandes“It is especially timely as we anticipate a significant amount of travellers to this destination due to the upcoming SEA Games in December. With AirAsia’s extensive network, we are glad to play a role in connecting ASEAN to Myanmar’s happening capital, and we are equally excited to open up a new convenient option for residents of Nay Pyi Taw to reach Bangkok and the rest of the world,” Fernandes told a WEF session.

“Myanmar’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014 and the ASEAN Economic Community taking place in 2015 will spark a tremendous demand to connect the capital city to the rest of the world, and Bangkok is a perfect place to start,” Fernandes said.

The AirAsia chief said, “I’ve always been a strong believer that the success of the ASEAN Economic Community is highly dependent on regional connectivity and policies which truly support ASEAN open skies. But beyond ASEAN, Myanmar is also a gateway to India and China so it is only natural that the success of its economic reforms has enabled it to become one of the hottest investment sites in the region. With its foreign direct investment growing five times from 2011 to 2012, there is no better time to offer the world more access to this hot destination,” Fernandes added.

Currently, AirAsia offers three daily flights between Bangkok and Yangon, and one daily flight between Bangkok and Mandalay. In addition to Thailand, the low-cost airline also connects Yangon to Kuala Lumpur via one daily flight.

The carrier is also targeting to move 500,000 passengers this year to the country, Fernandes said. “Myanmar will have about 3 million tourists this year and we want about 20 to 30 percent share of that,” he said.

Eyeing its massive expansion, AirAsia, the biggest low-cost carrier of the region, has ordered more than 300 aircraft from Airbus SAS.

Fernandes told a high-level meeting on travel and tourism at WEF, “We are also training 20 pilots from Myanmar in our training facilities in Malaysia. Private industries have to be proactive to spur Myanmar’s growth and train human resources here.”

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