Bangkok Airways expresses interest in opening routes to Bagan

Bangkok Airways, a Thai regional airline, is interested in opening a direct route between Bangkok and Bagan, which has just been accorded the World Heritage Site status by UNESCO.

Bagan, an ancient site of Buddhist temples, monasteries and fortifications in Mandalay Region, already popular with tourists, could see more interest now that it has finally been endorsed by UNESCO.

Other destinations the airline would like to open direct routes to include Heho in Shan State and Myeik in Tanintharyi Region as part of plans to expand operations to Myanmar’s tourist destinations.

Bangkok Airways vice-president of sales Mr. Varong Israsena said in a media briefing that the airline would like to open up direct routes to Heho, Bagan and Myeik due to their tourism potential.

He noted that a Bangkok to Myeik route could open the way for tourism to developin the islands off Myanmar’s southernmost coastline bordering Thailand.

The airline currently operates direct flights to Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay from Bangkok. It also operates flights between Chiangmai and Yangon as well as Chiangmai and Mandalay.

Currently, Myanmar has three international airports, Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw. It plans to upgrade 14 out of the 31 other domestic airports with customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) facilities as well as aprons, or tarmacs, which can handle bigger aircraft. Foreign visitors wanting to get to destinations such as Heho, Bagan and Myeik must first fly into one of the international airports before taking connecting flights to these locations.

Of the 14 domestic airports slated for the upgrades, three – Kawthoung, Heho and Mawlamyine – would undergo the CIQ upgrades starting this year under private-public partnership agreements.

Mr Varong Israsena added that the Bangkok Airways routes to Myanmar are mostly profitable as a result of deploying the most appropriate aircraft for the various routes. On its Bangkok-Nay Pyi Taw route for example, “we don’t use larger aircraft than 70-seaters. According to the traffic data we have, anything larger would not be profitable for us. This trip is profitable as we are using the right aircraft,” he said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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