Air Bagan launches Kawthaung flights


air-baganThe latest addition to Air Bagan's fleet, a Fokker 100, following its arrival at Yangon International Airport on July 1. The aircraft, which can carry 108 passengers and will operate on the Nyaung-U, Mandalay and Heho routes, was acquired from a Singapore company. It brings Air Bagan's fleet to four. The airline, launched last November, also operates two ATR-42s and an ATR-72.


DOMESTIC carrier Air Bagan has launched a new service to Kawthaung in a move which will assist the growth of tourism in the Myeik Archipelago.
The airline added the service late last month to its three-weekly flights to Myeik. The flights leave Yangon at 6am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and arrive in Kawthaung at 8.10.
The airline's assistant manager of sales and marketing, Daw Pwint Mar Han, said it had introduced the service because of the archipelago's huge potential as a tourist destination.
"The Myeik Archipelago's unspoiled beauty is a treasure for our tourism industry. In the past, tour operators had difficulties promoting it as there were no scheduled flights," she said.
"The area isn't visited by many tourists but we felt it was worth the investment to launch the service before it becomes more popular."
The regular flights to Kawthaung have been welcomed by travel industry operators in the town, the entry point for many tourists who make a short boat trip from Ranong in neighbouring Thailand.
The chairman of the Tourism Myanmar Co-operative Ltd., which operates the Mergui Princess liveaboard vessel, U Aye Min Oo, said easy access to the region was crucial for its development as a new destination.
"When we started our business, the biggest obstacle was accessibility, and we initially relied on tourists taking daily flights from Bangkok to Ranong," he said. The regular flights from Yangon, coupled with tourist arrivals from Ranong, would be a big boost for the travel industry in the region.
The director of products of the Myanmar Andaman Resort on Fork Island, U Khin Zaw, agreed that regular flights were essential to promote tourism in the archipelago.
"It can only be called a tourist destination if there are regular flights, good ground transportation and accommodation," said U Khin Zaw, who is also the chairman of the Union of Myanmar Travel Association.

"Our tour programs would be much easier to operate now, as the resort is closer to Kawthaung than Myeik."
However, U Khin Zaw said it would be more convenient if there were direct flights to Kawthaung from Yangon.
"The best situation would be flights to Kawthaung without any stopovers, which would mean a shorter flying time and lower airfares. But it will happen when tourist numbers increase," he said.

Myanmar delegation arrives back from the Philippines

THE NEW LIGHT OF MYANMAR (Monday, 26 May, 1997)

YANGON, 25 May - Myanmar delegation led by Deputy Minister for Hotels and Tourism Brig-Gen Tin Aye arrived back here by air yesterday evening from the Philippines after attending the World Tourism Leaders Meeting on Social Impacts of Tourism held in Manila.

The delegation was welcomed back at the airport by member of the State Law and Order Restoration Council Minister for Hotels and Tourism Lt-Gen Kyaw Ba and officials of departments.

Managing Director of Gracious Myanmar Travel U Sonny Nyunt Thein also arrived back here together with the deputy minister.