Myanmar: Domestic Airline Plans International Expansion

Airlines + Aviation

Myanmar National Airlines acquires its first next generation Boeing aircraft. With the acquisition of this technologically advanced airplane, will the airline launch flights to international travel destinations?

Myanmar National Airlines has taken delivery of the air carrier’s first Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 airliner. It is first new Boeing airplane to be delivered to an airline based in Myanmar, a.k.a. Burma.

Painted in the airline’s new livery, the technolgically advanced Boeing 737-800 airplane will allow Myanmar National Airlines to launch service to international travel destinations for the first time.

Formerly known as Myanma Airways, Myanmar National Airlines has an extensive domestic route networ. The airline flies to more than 25 domestic travel destinations.

Based in Yangon, which was formerly known in the West as Rangoon, the airline was founded in 1948 as Union of Burma Airways. It is also one of Asia’s oldest airlines.

Aviation Industry Overview

For a country of 53.26 million people (according to the World Bank in 2013), Myanmar has a surprisingly large number of airlines, most of which were formed recently, most of which haves tiny fleets with only a handful of airplanes, and most of which fly exclusively (or almost exclusively) to domestic travel destinations.

As exception is Myanmar Airways International, which has a fleet of 12 Airbus aircraft.

As well as flying domestically between Yangon and Mandalay, the country’s 2 largest cities, the airline also flies to the following international travel destinations: Bangkok, Thailand; Gaia, India; Guangzhou, China; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Langkawi, Malaysia; Osaka, Japan; Seoul, Korea; and Singapore.

The airline was founded in 1946 as Union of Burma Airways.

With a fleet of 7 aircraft, Air Bagan has an extensive domestic routework, flying to 20 cities, including one foreign travel destination: Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The airline maintains hubs at Yangon International Airport and Mandalay Chanmyathazia Airport.

Air KBZ has a fleet 4 ATR 72-500 and 3 ATR 72-600 aircraft. It flies to 17 domestic travel destinations, maintaining hubs at Yangon and Mandalay.

Founded in 1994, Air Mandalay has a fleet of 3 ATR aircraft. It flies to several domestic travel destinations.

Founded in 2011, Asian Wings Airways is based in Yangon, flying to the following domestic travel destinations: Mandalay, Nyaung U (Bagan), Heho, Tachileik, Lashio, Monywa, Homalin, Naypyitaw, Myitkyina, Bhamo and Putao.

Chiang Mai is the nascent airline’s first foreign travel destination.

FMI Charter operates 19 flights week between Yangon International Airport and Naypyidaw International Airport, which serves the nation’s capital. It also operates charter flights to 20 domestic travel destinations.

Founded in 2014, Mann Yadanarpon Airlines is the first airline in Myanmar to be based in Mandalay rather than Yangon. Mandalay is Myanmar’s 2nd largest city.

The airline currently flies to several domestic travel destinations. It plans to launch international routes in the near future. Bangkok and Phuket, both in Thailand, are both on the nascent airline’s radar screen.

A low cost carrier, Golden Myanmar Airlines was founded in 2012. It flies to 8 domestic travel destinations and one foreign travel destination: Chinag Mai.

The airline has a fleet of 2 Airbus A320-200s.

Yangon Airways flies to several domestic travel destinations. Established in 1996, it has a fleet of 3 ATE turboprop aircraft.

Turboprop Aircraft

A word to the wise: most of Myanmar’s airlines operate somewhat diminuitive turboprop aircraft on domestic flights, and cabins can be a bit claustrophobic.

If space is an issue, you might just want to consider travelling by train or bus! But at least the duration of most flights is relatively short. So you can always just grin and bear it.


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