Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Domestic Airlines in Myanmar and their Safety Record

The domestic airlines had a hard time during the international sanctions against Myanmars military rule. The sanctions led to a gap in commercial knowledge and experience in the airline sector, say experts. For the moment domestic routes are restricted to companies that are majority or wholly Myanmar owned. But in 2015 Myanmar plans to join the ASEAN "Open Skies Policy". Then the foreign airlines will become strong concurrents.

Therefore the safety record of many domestic airlines in Myanmar actually is not the best. There are seven domestic carriers right now:

Picture by Calflier001
The Embraer E190, leased by Myanma Airways from GE Capital Aviation Services, inaugurated in January 2013


Myanma Airways - now Myanmar National Airlines: The state owned carrier. Flying with Embraer, Fokker, Beachcraft and ATR. Safety record: British Embassy warned about the safety standards, as tripadvisor.com reports. There were two incidents lately with its Xian MA60: On 16 May 2013 a Myanma Airways flight from Heho Airport to Monghsat Airport in Burma overran the runway on landing, what resulted in two serious injuries and substantial damage to the aircraft. On 10 June 2013 Myanma Airways flight UB309 from Mawlamyine, carrying four crew members and 60 passengers, swerved off the runway upon landing at Kawthaung. The plane came to a stop in bushes about 200 feet to the west of the runway. There were no injuries. But the Xian MA-60 - manufactured by Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corp in China - have been grounded for safety checks. The Xian MA-60 has a bad safety record, as you can read here.


Air Bagan: See the Route Map. Flying with ATR and Airbus. Safety record: On 25 December 2012 a Fokker 100 was destroyed in an accident near Heho Airport (see picture). Flight W9-011 carried 65 passengers and six crew members. Eight passengers were injured, one passenger, a tour guide, was killed. A person who was travelling on a motor cycle on the ground was hit by the aircraft as it landed and was also killed. Flight 011 departed Mandalay and was approaching runway at Heho Airport in fog when it struck powerlines along National Highway 4. Heho Airport has a single asphalt runway without ILS. There is only an NDB beacon at the field. Air Bagan ist owned by U Tay Za, chairman of Htoo Group, which is also on the blacklist of US Treasury Department.


Air Mandalay: See Route Map. Flying with ATR. Air Mandalay's history is free of accidents. Read an experience by The Wandering Aramean. Air Mandalay has suspended operations from December 10 in 2014 and announced it would fly again in February 2014. Two two leased Embraer 145 had not arrived in time. Now the two aircrafts are announced to arrive until end of January 2015. But there remain doubts, if Air Mandalay will be able to take off again. Read more on Myanmar Times.


Picture by Travel Aficionado
Air Mandalay


Air KBZ: See the Route Map. Flying with ATR. Owned by U Aung Ko Win. Safety Record: On 17 February 2012 an ATR-72-500 received substantial damage in a runway excursion accident at Thandwe Airport. All passengers and crew onboard escaped uninjured. It touched down 1500 feet from the threshold and bounced about four times before veering off the left side of the runway into a small sand pile near the end of the runway.


Picture by calflier001
Air KBZ ATR72 at Mandalay Airport


Asian Wings: The Route Map. Flying with Airbus and ATR. There is no crash record. Asian Wings agreed in September to team up with All Nippon Airways (ANA), selling 49 percent of its shares to Japan’s largest airline for US$25 million. ANA will lease aircraft to Asian Wings and provide training to its pilots.


Golden Myanmar Airlines: A new founded airline, that started in January 2013 and is expanding quickly. It flies with 180-seated A-320 Airbuses. Owned by KMA Group’s U Khin Maung Aye.


FMI: A new airline, operating its Yangon-Nay Pyi Taw flight services with aircraft leased from Myanma Airways as it still doesn't have its own aircraft currently.


Yangon Airways: They have now E-Tickets. Flying with ATR. There is no accident record. Yangon Air has been linked to the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and is blacklisted by the US Treasury Department.


Read more:
International Airlines flying to Myanmar - Nok Air flies from Mae Sot into Myanmar


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