The emerging private airline will stand the 5th after Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways, Myanmar Airways International and Air Bagan.
The Air Kanbawza will use five 100-seat Canadian-made jets MA- 60 and ATR-72 to start its domestic flight services by October, according to Kanbawza Economic Group which owns the airline.
The Kanbawza group claimed that it had taken over Myanmar Airways International (MAI) for continuous operation under the government’s privatization plan,
MAI is currently operating regular flight services to four destinations: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Gaya.
The Kanbawza has bought 80% stake of the airline with the remainder to be held by the government.
MAI was once a joint venture set up between the state-run Myanmar Airways and a Singapore-based company in 1993 for sole international flights covering three scheduled flight destinations — Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
In Y 2007, the Region Air of Hong Kong took over the 49 percent stake held by the Singapore firm, while the remainder 51% is possessed by the Myanmar Airways.
In March this year, MAI increased its flight services to Singapore on daily basis from thrice a week with a new Airbus-320 amid peak tourism season.
The airline has also launched lower-price e-ticketing service as a promotion sale to attract travelers to the country.
In the latest development, the MAI is planning to operate a new route between Yangon and Guangzhou by October using Airbus A-320 to enhance the country’s tourism industry.
The MAI will become another airline flying between the two cities after China Southern Airlines.
To improve general handling services of the Yangon International Services, the Myanmar government has granted a private company, Pioneer Aerodrome Services to undertake the task.
Under a 30-yr lease contract signed between the company and the government, the private company will run the airport’s office and shop leasing business, airport maintenance as well as upgrading of airport machines and equipment.
According to the contract, the company will renovate the old airport terminal this year.
Meanwhile, another Myanmar private company, the Asia World will take over the ground handling service of the airport from two private airlines, Myanmar Airways International and Air Bagan which have been handling the ground work.
To meet the airport service cost, Myanmar aviation authorities has increased the airport tax with the Yangon International Airport to 3,000 Kyats ($3), which is 6 times more than the previous rate of 500 kyats ( US$00.50), starting July 1.
The new tax rate is collected for Myanmar national passengers taking flights while the original tax rate of US$10 for foreign passengers remains unchanged.
The airport tax hike is due to increased cost for installing new digital machines at the arrival and departure lounges for rapid service.
Yangon International Airport was built in Y 1957 and the new terminal was constructed in Y 2003 by the Asia World Company.
Yangon international airport received over 251,800 foreign tourists in the F-Y 2009-10, according to statistics.
There is one Myanmar international airline, the MAI, and 13 foreign airlines operating between Yangon and nine destinations, namely Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing via Kunming, Guangzhou, Calcutta, Chiang Mai, Taipei, Doha and Hanoi. —Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr. www.livetradignnews.com