Competition heats up on Yangon-Shanghai route

Chinese budget carrier Spring Airlines on Monday commenced scheduled operations at Terminal 1 of the Yangon International Airport (YIA).

Spring Airlines will operate direct flights between Yangon and Shanghai using an Airbus A320 aircraft, which has the capacity to carry 186 passengers. The carrier offers flights from YIA four times a week.

The move comes just a month after China Eastern Airlines launched a direct Shanghai-Yangon full service flight using Airbus 320 aircraft. This route offers flights from YIA three times a week.

It was China Eastern Airlines’ ninth route connecting China and Myanmar, making it the airline with the most flights between the two countries, and it expects to transport around 360,000 passengers on those flights in 2019, the airline said.

With the addition of Spring Airlines, there are now 32 international airlines operating at YIA, connecting Myanmar to 33 destinations across Asia, Yangon Aerodrome Company Limited, which operates YIA, said in a statement. At least ten are Chinese airlines, the Myanmar Times understands.

To date, 15 cities in China, including Shanghai, are connected with Yangon.

More than 3.5 million tourists visited Myanmar in 2018, 40 percent of whom came from China. Some 650,000 Chinese visitors arrived in the first four months of 2019, an increase of 30pc from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.

The number of Chinese tourists has increased since Myanmar started giving visa exemptions. On June 21, the ministry formed groups comprising regional tourism officials in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan to monitor Chinese tourists.

“We need to check how tourism companies are managing these big groups to make sure that both the country and the businesses are making money,” the Hotels and Tourism Ministry said in a statement.

Source: Myanmar Times

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