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Bangkok Airways to fly direct between Yangon and Phuket

Thailand’s Bangkok Airways will start direct flights between Yangon and Phuket starting on November 17, Varong Israsena, the Bangkok-based regional airline vice president of sales told The Myanmar Times in Yangon.

State-owned Myanmar National Airlines started operating a direct flight between Yangon and Phuket a month ago.

“MNA sees the potential and increase in traffic in the route,” he said.

A lot of Thai national companies are setting up operations in Myanmar and even local companies are increasing so there would be an increase in the flow of business travellers between two countries, Mr. Varong said.

“I see great potential in Myanmar. If we didn’t see any potential growth in business here we wouldn’t be here,” he said. “The travel trend in Myanmar is just rising as the country’s GDP registers impressive growth.

There will be more jobs available for Myanmar people and more will be travelling to Thailand.”

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and Bangkok Airways had also discussed direct flights between Cambodia’s Angkor and the ancient site of Bagan, but the deal fell through because the Department of Civil Aviation would not accept the flight stopping over in Bangkok.

“The Myanmar-Cambodia direct flight is possible if we connect to Bangkok. I don’t think we have the flying rights to flights between Cambodia and Myanmar because whatever flight is taking off in Myanmar has to land in Thailand. Going directly to Cambodia I don’t think is allowed, as far as I know,” Mr Varong said.

Recently Bangkok Airways began operating flights from Yangon to Bangkok, Mandalay to Bangkok, Nay Pyi Taw to Bangkok, and Yangon to Chiang Mai.

“We are looking at a few destinations but cannot reveal them yet. We are looking at more flights to secondary cities in Myanmar,” he said.

Bangkok Airways is cooperating with the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) to promote business travel from the CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) to Thailand’s five key cities: Bangkok, Phuket, Khon Kaen, Pattaya, Chiang Mai.

As part of this campaign, business travellers from CLMV countries will be provided a special passport lane at Suvarnabhumi International Airport and financial support of up to 300,000 baht (US$9600/K12.92 million) for each group.

This promotional campaign started in April and will continue until September 2019. The promotion is for companies and organisations from CMLV countries with at least 50 delegates that fly on Bangkok Airways.

According to the TCEB, the number of business event travellers from CLMV countries increased by up to 24pc to 49,270 in 2017 from 39,723 in 2016. Myanmar travellers rose 19.4 percent in 2017 compared with the previous year.

“This campaign is for Bangkok Airways but if they fly with another airline to Bangkok we can support that too. TCEB supports business travel to Thailand, so I hope there would be more Myanmar business people who take advantage of it,” said Puripan Bunnag, director of TCEB.

Source: Myanmar Times

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