Domestic Air Travel in MyanmarFlights within Myanmar
Bustling sky, overcrowded airline industry in Myanmar
Myanmar's 10 domestic airlines operate in a mature domestic air transport sector and an assessment of the sector has warned that restructuring is unavoidable. Scene of Mayhem are customary in the departures hall of Yangon International Airport. To a certain extent, the messy scenery is typical of the mature domestic air transport scene.
The CAPA-Centre for Aviation said in an April article that it was "amazing" that 10 airline companies serve a passenger transport segment of just over two million. Myanmar Airline Outlook 2016 said that domestic airline companies are at a crucial point and the segment is "ready for restructuring". Myanmar National Airline - which was renamed Myanma Airways in 2014 - has the biggest domestic airline with 13 aircrafts, followed by Air KBZ with eight aircrafts, according to the April survey based on April-figures.
Eight other domestic airlines, among them Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways and Mann Yadanarbon, have a fleet of 16 in all. In order to be able to maintain the growth forecast by experts in the tourist sector, extensive reforms in domestic air travel are necessary. The likelihood of visitors exploring new routes is lower if the flight is longer and requires several stopovers - or is not flown to by domestic airlines at all.
Airline sizes make them ineffective and keep fares high - especially for overseas passengers who demand more than Myanmar's people. However, the alternatives to air travel are an even longer, less convenient and more hazardous journey by road or coach. Mosebach said that many domestic airline companies have imitated the operational models of their competitors and use a "Myanmar system" that has hardly developed in more than 20 years.
For some hauliers, education is seen more as a costs than an expense. "Many good local professionals work in the sector, but it requires a readiness to transform and repate/expatriate information in order to move beyond the present path," he said. Signs are that some hauliers are prepared to take a different route to get away from the herd.
Since 2012 FMI Air offers charter airflights between Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw with aircrafts of other airlines. Later, it requested an operation permit and started operations with its two CRJ 200 turbo-fan jets in May 2015. In December, FMI Air will receive two new ATR 72-600 turboprops that will provide a "premium service" to customers, John Kingston, the airline's CEO, commented.
ATR 72 is used by almost all domestic airlines in Myanmar. However, unlike other ATR72-600s on the aftermarket, the FMI Airs will only have 60 of them. Myanmar National Airlines, the state-owned airline that began as the Union of Burma Airways shortly after the airline's 1948 victory in the country's capital, is another airline pursuing a new strategy.
There were two other name changes, in Burma Airways and then Myanma Airways, 1972 and 1989 respectively. "Previously we were just a domestic air company, but when the state opened up, the administration wanted an air company that would fly international and that would make them proud," MNA leader U Than Tun commented.
Airline's global routes include Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Buddhist pilgrims' flight to Gaya in India. MNA uses state grants to serve 27 targets in Myanmar. The majority of the domestic market's domestic competition does not serve more than 10 cities. "As there are many domestic carriers, the demand is very high.
MNA entered into a contract with GE Capital Aviation Services to rent 10 Boeing 737s in February 2014. According to reports, the transaction was valued at 960 million US dollars - a figure the domestic competitors can only hope for. In the CAPA document it is stated that the competitive environment on the domestic markets has caused an untenable problem and "mergers and withdrawals are inevitable".
Domestic air traffic has increased in recent years, but the pace of increase has decelerated from 16% in 2014 to 4% in 2015. It states that significant changes are needed to make the sector a profit. The National League for Democracy has the opportunity to reduce high tax rates on airplanes, parts and jet fuels that have "limited economic and earnings growth".