Air Mandalay to Return to Skies in May

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 3 April 2015

Locally owned Air Mandalay expects to resume international flights later this year, following a resumption of domestic routes in May, according to Kham Park Pha, chief operations officer for the carrier.

The joint venture Air Mandalay suspended all flights in December 2014 due to unmet upgrade requirements and as it waited to receive new planes. Charter flights to some domestic destinations resumed last month.

“Scheduled domestic flights will resume on May 1 and we will resume international flights including Chiang Mai, Thailand, at the end of this year,” Kham Park Pha told The Irrawaddy on Friday

The airline had operated a Chiang Mai-Rangoon route until mid-2014.

Air Mandalay is 70 percent privately owned, with the government holding a 30 percent stake. The carrier recently purchased two Embraer ERJ 145 jets to service domestic routes including Mandalay, Naypyidaw, Thandwe, Heho, Tachileik, Dawei, Sittwe, Kyaungtong and Nyaung Oo from May 1.

“More aircraft will arrive soon for new scheduled flights. We are happy to reenter the air industry,” Kham Park Pha said.

Air Mandalay also signed an aircraft purchase agreement last year with Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation for at least additional five planes.

Air Mandalay said in a statement on Friday that the challenges it has faced in recent months had not deterred the company, which “remains committed to best serving both the local population of and visitors to Burma.”

“We know that these past few months have been difficult but it has brought out the best in all of us,” Kham Park Pha said in the statement.

Air Mandalay Limited was incorporated in 1994 to operate as Burma’s first privately owned airline, based in Rangoon. Until it grounded its fleet late last year, it had serviced almost all major tourist destinations in Burma.

Currently, only two domestic airlines fly international routes out of Burma: state-owned Myanmar Airways International and Golden Myanmar Airlines.