Myanmar firms take fancy to helicopters

Bell Helicopter is taking its 412 EPI model on a five-month demonstration tour across Asia-Pacific starting in Myanmar, where private sector firms have begun to show an interest in helicopters, according to the company’s local dealer.

“Last year, we told government associations and private companies that they can easily buy Bell helicopters from Singapore without any problems with sanctions but there was no demand,” said Ko Linn Htet, managing director of LT Resources, Bell Helicopter’s Myanmar dealer. “This year about five private companies have expressed interest.”

Bell Helicopter showcased its Bell 429 WLG in Myanmar in 2015.

The firm started its regional display of the 412 EIP, which finds use in the corporate, energy and emergency services sectors, in Yangon yesterday. The company is showcasing the aircraft Nay Pyi Taw today and tomorrow, it said.

The Bell 412 EPI comes with a price-tag of approximately US$12 million, he said.

Most of Myanmar’s helicopters are owned by the government, with few in operating in the private sector. But there is strong potential demand in various business sectors, including police, search-and-rescue, and tourism, said U Htun Tint Aye, chair of the Myanmar Helicopter Association.

Myanmar’s armed forces are currently responsible for supply helicopters for search-and-rescue operations.

If private sector companies do starting using helicopters for business purposes they need to follow the aircraft rules and regulations whether operating charter or scheduled flights, said Department of Civil Aviation director general U Win Swe Tun.

“As we don’t have enough airstrips there would also be infrastructure needed,” he said.

Source: The Myanmar Times

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