Singapore Airlines (SIA) will launch daily, larger flights to Rangoon starting Oct. 28, partly taking over its regional unit Silk Air, in a bid to fulfill the growing passenger demand to Burma.
|Airline House, the corporate head office of Singapore Airlines, is in the background Photo: Terence Ong / wikipedia|
Currently, Silk Air operates 16 flights a week to Rangoon with single-aisle Airbus A320.
SIA is the latest international carrier to start or expand Burma connections.
Meanwhile, seven other airlines – Korean Air, Dragon Air, EVA Air, All Nippon Airways, Qatar Airways, Condor Airlines, Trans Asia Airways are preparing to commence flights to Rangoon in October.
In addition to the 64-year-old state-operated domestic Myanma Airways (MA), there are five privately operated domestic airlines in Myanmar, namely Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways, Air Bagan, Asian Wings and Air Kanbawza.
In July, Mizzima reported that as businessmen and tourists line up to visit Burma, old Yangon International Airport is showing its 50-plus years, and the government has started a search for investors to build a second international airport to relieve the pressure.
The proposal is to build a modern airport at Bago, 50 miles from Rangoon, on the site of a Japanese-built airport from World War II, according to state-run media. Construction would start in June 2013 and be completed in 2016, said an official.
Under the proposal, the airport would cover 9,000 acres (3,642 hectares), an area nine times the size of Yangon International Airport, said Tin Naing Tun, the head of the Civil Aviation Department.
In 1994, construction of a new airport was started on that site, but work stopped in 2003. However, 80 per cent of the earthwork has already been completed, said reports.
Rangoon’s current airport can handle 2.7 million passengers a year, although only 1.45 million passed through in 2011, according to the Transport Ministry.
Burma currently has international airports in the administrative capital, Naypyitaw, Mandalay, in central Burma, Rangoon and in Nyaung Oo.
"Passenger and flight arrivals at all international airports are increasing speedily, especially at Yangon International Airport," a senior ministry official said.
Rangoon will reach its full capacity in terms of handling flights and passengers by the end of this year," said an official.
Naypyitaw’s international airport was inaugurated in December 2011. Located 16 kilometers south of Naypyitaw, it can handle up to 10 million passengers a year, officials said. The airport was partly designed to accommodate events such as the Southeast Asian Games and Asean summit to be hosted in Naypyitaw in 2013 and 2014.
On May 24, Mizzima reported that Burma is making a major push to earn more income from tourism. Officials said about 1,500 tourists arrived each day in Burma’s four international airports, an increase of about one-third in the past year.