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Domestic airlines need to join hands for survival post-COVID

Domestic airlines will need to cooperate with one another in the post-COVID period for survival, said a senior official from the transport and communications ministry.

As the safety standards for airlines have been raised, leading to higher costs, airlines need to cooperate in order to survive, said U Win Khant, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Communication.

“Before the vaccines are available, we must follow the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) guidelines. For the safety of passengers, necessary security measures for airports, airplanes, and staff must be carried out,” he said.

Under the new rules, airlines are not allowed to carry more than 75 percent of their capacity.

As a result, airlines will need to cooperate with each other to reduce costs or consider increasing airfares as a result of the increased expenses.

“In complying with these new instructions, the cost of running the business may increase. In this situation, small airlines will no longer be able to survive without support from the bigger carriers or mergers,” U Win Khant said.

Domestic airlines are costly to operate and most rely on foreigners to fill their seats. Many airlines also operate code share flights in the monsoon season and some are under joint ventures.

There are five domestic airlines operating in Myanmar and the airplanes are leased from overseas.

Now, industry operators are calling for the government to extend low-interest loans to the sector to help local airlines stay afloat.

Last week, the government said it is considering a US$24 million bail-out plan to help Myanmar National Airlines cover its operational expenses. Meanwhile, some airlines have a one-year exemption for airport use and parking fees.

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Source : Myanmar Times

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