YANGON, April 20 — Myanmar could be the home of Asia’s next big aviation boom, analysts have suggested.
In the week that Myanmar pro-democracy hero Aung San Suu Kyi said that she would travel outside of the rapidly opening country for the first time in three decades, the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) has predicted that the country, also known as Burma, is about to enter a “major period of growth” when it comes to aviation.
According to the researchers, Myanmar’s air travel market is perhaps the most underserved in all of Asia, with just 40,100 seats available on aircraft in and out of the country every week, for a population of 48 million.
Compare that to Thailand, which has 1.1 million seats every week serving a population of 69 million, and it becomes clear how Myanmar is likely to grow in the future, as its airports are improved and more airlines begin to arrive.
Yangon plays host to what is by far the largest airport in the country, and international passengers have already nearly doubled there in the last three years, CAPA said, but now that more airlines are set to arrive the numbers are expected to soar.
Bangkok Airways, Thai AirAsia and Thai Airways International, the three carriers which already ensure that Bangkok is the most-served destination from Myanmar, are planning to add flights soon, CAPA said, potentially opening the country up to the hoards of travellers that pass through Thailand.
Long-haul airlines are also set to begin serving the country, with Qatar Airlines expected to be the first major airline later this year when it begins flying between Doha and Yangon in October, although Japanese airline ANA and German carrier Condor are among the other carriers expected to join the fray.
Despite the optimism, CAPA warned that such a dramatic transformation won’t happen instantly.
“While the growth opportunities in Myanmar are exciting, it will take time for the potential of the country’s aviation sector to be fully realised,” the report concluded.
“Infrastructure, including new airport terminals and hotels, cannot be built overnight. Myanmar has the ingredients to become Asia’s next hottest tourist destination but this cannot be achieved without infrastructure.” — AFP-Relaxnews