Myanmar mulls over heli services

YANGON, 18 May 2015: Myanmar Helicopter Association was recently established to support the development of commercial helicopter operations in the country.

But it is a difficult business requiring a substantial investment in equipment as well as patience to lobby the government to change legislation to open up the market to commercial enterprises.

Myanmar Times media claimed the association intends to promote helicopter services with international companies, while lobbying the government to ease regulations.

“The main purpose of the association is to advance helicopter operations in Myanmar, first to support offshore and onshore gas and oil exploration. We think this could become the biggest helicopter market in Southeast Asia,” said Global Integrated Service Ltd, managing director, Frank Boland on the sidelines of the 7 to 8 May Heliops Myanmar conference held in Yangon.

inside no 4In Myanmar, most of the helicopters are currently owned by the military.  But in the future, the association hopes that more helicopters will be used in business and for search and rescue missions. Companies are also very interested in the use of helicopters for tourism.

Air Mandalay director, U Htun Tint Aye, was quoted saying: “We have formed a helicopter association, but we can do nothing right now. Helicopters are  too expensive, and nobody can land in Myanmar. We need helicopters and pilots, and permission from the government to allow investment in this sector.”

Ultimately, the success of the industry hinges on whether or not the government decides to support it, he said. In addition, it is important to ensure that it benefits the Myanmar people.

In February, Myanmar’s Civil Aviation Department granted Air Myanmar Aviation Service permission to operate the first-ever commercial helicopter service. The company will use two AS350 B3 helicopters for charters, survey flights and medical evacuation.