MAI moves to increase flights

YANGON, 22 June 2016: Myanmar Airways International plans more flights between Myanmar and Singapore following the signing of a visa-free travel accord between the two countries.

Myanmar and Singapore citizens will no longer need a visa to travel between the two countries effective 1 December, this year.

Under the visa exemption agreement, citizens of both countries will be eligible to stay for up to 30 days.

inside no 1Global New Light of Myanmar quoted MAI’s assistant general manager, Daw Aye Mra Tha, saying the airline was planning to increase flights between Yangon and Singapore from 10 to 14 flights per week once the visa exemption begins.

Competitor, Tiger Airways, a low-cost airline, announced yesterday it was offering a SGD168 fare to welcome visa-free travel between the two countries. Bookings must be made by July for travel in December.

Singapore Airlines passenger sales assistant, Ma Kyi Phyu Thant, was quoted saying Singapore Airlines and SilkAir would also add more flights depending on passenger demand.

The two airlines operate 17 flights per week to Yangon and three to Mandalay.

According to Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the country attracted 45,125 Singaporean visits, last year, up 3.47% from 2014.

According to Singapore Tourism Board statistics, last year, the country welcomed 105,452 Myanmar travellers, a decline of 6.5%.

Myanmar has been implementing visa exemption agreements with fellow ASEAN members since 2009 when it signed the first agreement with Laos. All agreements were supposed to be in place by 2014 when Myanmar chaired ASEAN, but there were delays.

Only Malaysia remains outside the visa-free travel accord, a country that was a founding member of ASEAN and is a top investment partner in Myanmar.  Travel industry sources claim Malaysia had not responded to Myanmar’s invitation to engage in further talks to reach an agreement on visa-free travel