The airline is taking delivery of leased Boeing 737-800s that will be used to launch the routes. The next batch of new planes are expected to arrive in early October, and they will be used to start regular flights to Hong Kong and Taipei beginning in November.
MNA CEO, U Than Tun, told local media that the airline would still need to apply for traffic rights from Vietnam and Malaysia to start flights to those destination, that were highlighted in the business plan. The airline has concentrated on domestic services and is not identified in previous aviation agreements.
The airline starts its first overseas flight to Singapore today, 17 August. It will fly daily except for Saturday.
inside no 3Earlier in the year, MNA confirmed it has signed a lease agreement for 10 Boeing jets to be delivered over the next five years, and six ATR turboprop planes over the next three years.
The airline currently uses Boeing, Embraer and ATR planes to serve 26 domestic destinations from its Yangon base, including Bagan, Mandalay, Heho and Thandwe.
The airline will face considerable challenges to make its mark as competition on regional routes is tough and the airline has a poor track record as far as travel agencies are concerned. They are not confident that the airline can deliver consistent services that are a basis requirement when selling advance tour programmes in Europe.
MNA was established 67 years ago as Union of Burma Airlines. Before 1992, it served routes to neighbouring countries, but later withdrew to concentrate on domestic services. It did a poor job even domestically and was never a first choice for travel agents concerned about reliability and safety. Last year, the airline was restructured and began leasing aircraft to extend its operations. It remains to be seen if it can shed its poor image and prove to be a viable airline in a highly competitive local market.
Source: TTR Weekly