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New airline prepares for November launch

By Zaw Win Than
October 25 - 31, 2010

SPURRED by the prospect of rising tourist numbers after the November 7 election, a new private domestic airline with mystery investors is set to begin flights next month.

Asian Wings Airways will begin flying to a range of local destinations from mid-November, U Maung Maung Shwe Moe, the company’s general manager, said last week.

“The tourist season is just beginning, so it’s the right time to establish a new airline. We expect a good response from passengers,” he said. “For the moment, our airline is under development and we are awaiting permission to operate.”

The airline will use two ATR 72-500 aircraft that can accommodate about 70 passengers, and will fly regular scheduled flights to Nyaung Oo, Mandalay, Heho, Thandwe and Sittwe and less frequent flights to Tachileik, Lashio, Homalin, Myitkyina, as well as southern destinations such as Dawei, Kawthoung and Myeik.

“Arrival numbers have been increasing. Most tourists visiting Myanmar come via Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Kunming,” he said.

U Maung Maung Shwe Moe denied reports that the new airline was connected to Htoo Trading, which owns Air Bagan, and Yangon-based ticketing agency Sun Far Travel.

However, he refused to say who was behind the new airline.

“I just would like to say that Asian Wings is a privately owned company established in the middle of this year. We are an independent company and we don’t have any affiliation with any of the other airlines or any travel company,” he said.

“As our airline is under development, we are not ready to give details about who our shareholders are. We will provide all the details about airline when we launch officially.”

He said, however, that the airline would get support from other domestic airlines. “We have put a proposal to Myanma Airways to hire their experienced pilots. We will also receive different support from other airlines,” he said.

Another new domestic airline, Air Kanbawza, owned by Kanbawza Bank, is also expected to start services before the end of the year, using five 100-seat Canadian-made MA-60 planes and ATR-72s. Myanmar has four main domestic passenger airlines: Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways, Air Bagan and state-run Myanma Airways.