New low-cost carrier Golden Myanmar Airlines is expected to begin flights between Yangon and Mandalay this week following a recent test flight, an official said.
The airline flew the Yangon-Mandalay-Yangon route on January 11 to get its air operator certificate (AOC) and expects to conduct its first flight for paying passengers on January 17, said U Win Kyaw Moe, the airline’s assistant general manager.
Fares on the route will be available from as little as K27,000 one way, the airline says, although not all seats will be available at that price, which is less than one-third what existing operators charge.
“However, we will manage our airfares to ensure prices remain low … I can definitely say that the airfares will be cheaper than the other domestic airlines,” U Win Kyaw Moe said.
While Myanmar has five private domestic airlines, all charge essentially the same price. On the Yangon-Mandalay route, fares are about K80,000 for locals and US$130 for foreigners.
Golden Myanmar Airlines will fly the Yangon-Mandalay route nine times a week using an Airbus A320 with 180 economy-class seats. A rented Boeing aircraft will arrive by the end of February, U Win Kyaw Moe said.
The airline also plans to begin offering flights from Yangon to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand from March, chairman U Khin Maung Aye said last week.
“The situation has changed – tourist arrivals are increasing sharply this year – so we are interested in starting this business,” he said. “We won’t take much profit and primarily want to offer the public flights at a cheap price.”
The airline, which is a public company established in August, will also begin selling shares to the public on January 14 at K10,000 each, U Khin Maung Aye said. The CB Bank chairman and founder of Kaytumadi Co, Ltd and Kaung Myanmar Aung Group of Companies is one of 15 major investors, along with U Thein Tun of Myanmar Golden Star.
“Not only do we want everyone to fly cheaply but we also want everybody to have the chance to be involved in this business,” U Khin Maung Aye said.
To keep prices low, passengers will be charged for some services that are free on most airlines, such as food. But the most expensive meal on Golden Myanmar Airlines will be K3400, the airline says. Passengers will also be charged for baggage over the 10-kilogram limit.