New Flight to Myanmar by Lao Air
Lao Airlines has linked Vientiane and Luang Prabang with Yangon the commercial capital of Myanmar since this October.
The airline’s commercial department director, Saleum Tayarath, reported to local media in Vientiane that as part of the deal Lao Airlines would sign an agreement with Myanmar Airways International to introduce code-share arrangement on the route.
The airline confirmed its plans after it was discussing a business plan with local tour operators that would support the route.
There have been no services between the two cities for more than two decades.
“We are re-establishing an air link between the two cities to open doors for investors and tourists,” he said.
Lao Airlines stopped flying to Yangon in the 1980s as the route was unprofitable.
However, he said this time it is confident of financial success as Myanmar has become a favourite destination for investors and tourists and the service will link with Luang Prabang.
The director added: “We want to tap tourism demand from countries like China, South Korea and Japan that would like to send groups to both countries.”
Local traffic demand will be low, but by linking the services to Luang Prabang as well as Vientiane, the airline can fill a gap in the route networks in the Mekong region, making easier for travellers to visit historical destinations in both countries.
The new air link is part of plans by Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam to build better connections between the Mekong region neighbours.
According to the Myanmar Times report last week, MAI marketing and commercial executive, Daw Aye Mra Tha, said it was possible that airline might fly via Cambodia to Laos.
“We are discussing flights to Laos but our market surveys suggest it might be better to fly via Cambodia instead of directly to Vientiane,” she said, adding that no decisions had been made as yet.
Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore are the only destinations in Southeast Asia currently served by Lao Airlines.
Meanwhile, private carrier Lao Central Airlines also plans to operate flights between Vientiane and Yangon, and Vientiane and Nay Pyi Taw in the future.
During a state visit by Myanmar President U Thein Sein to Laos in March last year, the two countries reached an agreement to reopen direct flights between Vientiane and either Yangon or Nay Pyi Taw to facilitate cooperation and boost tourism.
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