The Irrawaddy

MAI Plane Damaged During Landing in Rangoon

Engineers repairing the nosecone of the Myanmar Airways International plane at Rangoon International Airport (Photo: Yangon Police / Facebook)

RANGOON — A Myanmar Airways International (MAI) flight suffered slight damage on Wednesday after a bird punctured the plane’s nosecone shortly before landing at in Rangoon, according to Yangon Division police.

An Airbus A319, servicing MAI Flight 232 from Singapore to Rangoon, collided with a large bird while 1200 metres (4000 feet) above Bago Division, ten minutes before landing at Mingaladon.

“It was a really big bird,” Aye Mra Tha, MAI sales and marketing executive, told the Irrawaddy. “The plane’s nose cracked… but there was no major damage and the flight landed as per regular procedure. After landing our engineering department changed the nosecone with spare parts.”

Aye Mra Tha added that the Airbus was flying to Korea this morning as part of the plane’s regular schedule.

A statement posted on MAI’s Facebook page said that none of the flight’s 120 passengers or eight crew were injured during the incident and the plane had resumed its normal services.

While MAI has a relatively strong safety record, meeting the international aviation benchmarks of accreditation from the International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit and clearance to fly into the European Union, several recent incidents have raised concerns about the overall safety of the aviation industry in Burma.

In April of this year, a plane operated by low-cost carrier and recent market entrant Golden Myanmar Airlines crashed into a stationary MAI plane at Rangoon Airport. In January, a flight operated by Air KBZ was evacuated on the runway at Mingaladon after smoke began to rise from its wheels while taxiing on the runway. Air KBZ and MAI are both wholly owned subsidiaries of the Kanbawza Bank, a company formerly subject to US sanctions.

In Dec. 2012, a Fokker 100 aircraft operated by low-cost carrier Air Bagan carrying more than 60 passengers from Mandalay hit power lines during its descent to Heho Airport in Shan State, killing a passenger and a local motorcyclist on the ground.

Meanwhile, the Rangoon-headquartered Air Mandalay, which operates services across 12 domestic airports, announced the suspension of all flights on Wednesday. Citing “unforeseen delays on the scheduled arrival of leased aircraft, Air Mandalay Chief Executive Sai Kham Park Hpa said that all bookings would cease until Jan. 31.

Additional reporting by Sean Gleeson.