DCA denies the request from Bangkok Airways to fly Bkk-Bagan direct route

Department for Civil Aviation (DCA) replied to Bangkok Airways that they are not allowed the direct flight between Bangkok and Bagan at the present as Bagan-NyaungU airport is not an international airport, sources said.

Bagan was recently recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The area is popular among the international before it was being listed in the world heritage list. Now more foreign travellers would be visited Bagan and international airlines have taken an interest to run direct flights to Bagan.

“Nyaung-U airport is a domestic airport and we cannot allow them to run direct flight between Bangkok and Bagan,” said Ye Htut Aung, Deputy Director General from the DCA.

The airline is operating direct flights from Bangkok to Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay. Moreover it is running Chiang Mai-Yangon and Chiang Mai-Mandalay.

The DCA said they have responsibilities to protect local airlines in domestic aviation sector and the department is not allowed international airlines to operate domestic flights.

At the present, some domestic airlines returned their Air Operator’s Certificates (AOC) to the department as they are losing profits, said an official from the department.

“At the present, some domestic airlines are suspended their flights as business is not good. We have to protect them with Cabotage Law to protect the domestic airlines from foreign competition. If we allow the international airlines to fly to towns which can attract foreign tourists such as NyaungU, Heho and Thandwe with fares lower than those of domestic airlines; it will make domestic airlines to stop their operations. This kind of method is practiced internationally to protect local businessmen,” said the Deputy Director General.

Government invited tender to cooperate with the private sector to upgrade Heho, Kawthoung and Mawlamyaing airports and KBZ Group, Golden Myanmar Airlines Public Company and Hinthar Group won the tender to upgrade Heho, Kawthoung and Mawlamyaing airports respectively.

However Golden Myanmar Airlines Public Company backed off from Kawthaung Airport upgrades and re-tender process will be carried out.

It is expected that the first phase of upgrade for Heho airport will cost US$ 40 million, with US$ 20 million and US$ 36 million respectively for Mawlamyaing and Kawthaung Airports.

Source: Eleven Myanmar

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