Burma and US Negotiate to Revive Air Service Agreement

By Tin Htet Paing 8 February 2017

RANGOON — Burma and the United States have been negotiating to revive an air service agreement signed 68 years ago between the two countries, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Transport and Communications said on Wednesday.

The first air service agreement between Burma and the United States was signed in Sept. 1949, but there is no record of flight services between the two countries, the ministry’s spokesman and assistant permanent secretary U Aung Ye Tun told The Irrawaddy.

In 2014, the United States proposed that Burma amend the air service agreement, U Aung Ye Tun said, highlighting that the old bilateral agreement needed to be modified in accordance with current aviation standards.

After modifications, the revised agreement would allow airlines from the two countries to offer direct routes, he added.

U Ne Win, a director in the ministry’s department of civil aviation, told The Irrawaddy that negotiations started in August last year and aim to be finalized by the end of 2017.

“We have been negotiating to achieve an agreement that would provide a win-win situation,” he said.

Initiation of flight services between the two countries will enhance tourism, trade and cargo freight services, he commented.

The United States lifted economic sanctions on Burma in October last year, which had been in place since 1996 in order to denounce the policies of the then-military government. The early 1990s had been a “golden era” for air freight business from Burma to the United States.

“When the two countries have connections in the aviation industry, there will be improvements in political, economic and social relations,” transport ministry official U Ne Win said.

Burma also revised bilateral air service agreements with the Netherlands and Bhutan last year.