Friday, September 24, 2010

Air Mandalay Buys New Plane

Air Mandalay, a private airline in Burma, has bought a new aircraft from England after it ceased operating scheduled flights in July.

“We are trying to register the new plane in Burma,” Air Mandalay's managing director told The Irrawaddy on Thursday, saying the plane, an ATR-72 (212 series) with 66 seats, has been in Rangoon since August 28.

According to news reports in August, Burmese private airlines had failed to pay taxes to the Internal Revenue Department due to operational losses.

An Air Mandalay ATR-72 (212series)
However, Air Mandalay's Marketing Manager, Ko Ko Gyi, said the airline hopes to resume regular operations after major repairs to its two existing ATR-72 (212 series) with 70 seats each.

“Major repairs have been completed in Bangkok and painting is underway in Malaysia. We hope to resume normal flights next week,” he said.

According to Ko Ko Gyi, the airline will resume domestic services to Bagan, Mandalay, Heho, Sittwe and Thandwe.

Founded in 1994, Air Mandalay was the first private airline to begin operations in Burma, but later it had to compete with Air Bagan and Air Kanbawza, which are respectively owned by businessmen Tay Za and Aung Ko Win who are close to the military regime, said the owner of a travel agency in Rangoon.

“Air Mandalay and Yangon Airways are run by shareholders, and when Air Bagan and Air Kanbawza entered the market, they become the main competitors,” he said.

Ko Ko Gyi said the competition between airlines had been fair, however.

Currently, there are four private airlines in Burma: Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways, Air Bagan and Air Kanbawza.

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