Nok Air Joins Cadre of Foreign Airliners Linking With Burma

By The Irrawaddy 30 August 2013

RANGOON — With demand for flights into Burma rising, Thailand’s Nok Air will launch a new route from the Thai border town of Mae Sot to the Mon State capital of Moulmein, state-run media announced Friday.

Budget tickets priced between US$55 and $80 will be available for the 25-minute flight, The New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported, with travelers able to pay in Burmese kyat, Thai baht or US dollars.

The new air route, which will be serviced beginning on Sunday, will greatly reduce travel time between the Thai border town and Moulmein, which currently takes more than six hours overland.

The Mae Sot-Moulmein flight is expected to largely benefit Thai tourists and pilgrims who travel to Mon State for a glimpse of Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, also known as Golden Rock.

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is a well-known Buddhist pilgrimage site, and its iconic stupa-topped, gold-leaf covered rock is a popular attraction for tourists, particularly among the majority-Buddhist Thai contingent.

Airline Manager Aye Min Tun told The New Light of Myanmar that the Nok flights out of Mae Sot were slated to depart every morning.

Nok Air will also launch a new route on Oct. 1 from Mae Sot to Rangoon, Burma’s commercial capital, where a consortium led by Pioneer Aerodrome Services, an affiliate of the Burmese conglomerate Asia World, was recently awarded a contract to expand Rangoon International Airport.

As the budget airline of Thai Airways International, Nok Air services 100 flights a day in Thailand.

Meanwhile, fellow budget airliner AirAsia has announced plans to launch regular flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport to Naypyidaw, according to a report by Travel Daily News. According to Thai AirAsia CSO Tassapon Bijleveld, the airline will offer promotional fares until Sept. 8 for travel between Oct. 28, 2013 and Aug. 5, 2014.

“AirAsia is the first and only low-fare airline to serve this route from Don Mueang Airport,” he said, adding that new 180-seat Airbus A320s would be used for the one-hour flight between the two Southeast Asian capitals.

The move by AirAsia comes a week after Thai airline Bangkok Airways said it would become the first international carrier to fly directly to the Burmese capital.