Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

More flights to Myanmar gateways

Mandalay and Yangon can expect more Chinese tourists to visit during the cool season months as Kunming Airlines adds new services.

The Chinese airline, home-based in Kunming, Yunnan province, China, confirmed it would start new services to both cities mid-October.

According to Airlineroute timetable information, the airline will fly a three-weekly service on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday to Mandalay starting 16 October.

Using a Boeing 737-700 aircraft, the flight will depart Kunming at 2105 and arrive in Mandalay at 2120.

The return flight will depart Mandalay at 2220 and arrive in Kunming at 0120 on the following morning.

The Kunming to Yangon service, also using a Boeing 737-700, starts 15 October with four flights weekly on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.  The flights will depart Kunming at 2015 and arrive in Yangon at 2015 while the return flight will depart Yangon at 2150 and arrive in Kunming at 0120 on the following morning.

According to recent observations made in a CAPA report on Myanmar’s aviation, “the market has grown rapidly over the past decade, tripling in size. However, 2018 marked by far the slowest rate of growth this decade.

“International passenger traffic grew by only 2% as visitors to Myanmar increased by less than 3%. Tourism is critical to Myanmar as inbound visitors account for most international traffic and a large portion of domestic traffic, which declined by 5% in 2018.”

However, CAPA said the China market was a bright spot with airline travel growing 40%.  It forecast that the growth would continue in 2019 due to an extension of easier visa regulations that led to several Chinese airlines entering the market.

CAPA reported there were 26 routes connecting Myanmar and China earlier this year, compared to only six in 2018.

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