AVIATION & TOURISM
Nok Air is intensifying its foray in Myanmar, its first foreign country upon resumption of its international services, with a route from the Thai border town Mae Sot to the former capital Yangon.
The daily Mae Sot-Yangon flight is due to commence on Oct 1, one month after the inauguration of its Myanmar service, also daily, from Mae Sot to Mawlamyine, formerly known as Moulmein.
Mae Sot-Yangon was not previously planned by the Thai budget carrier, but it saw an opportunity for traffic on Myanmar's secondary routes, said executives of the SET-listed airline.
The two Myanmar-bound routes originating from Mae Sot will be operated by a Saab 340B turboprop, capable of carrying 34 passengers, chartered from Nok Mini, an affiliated airline with different ownership.
Nok Air's previously announced plan to offer Bangkok-Yangon service in the fourth quarter with two daily flights on Boeing 737-800 jets, which seat 189 passengers, remains on track, said officials.
Nok Air will be the first foreign airline to operate the Mae Sot-Yangon and Mae Sot-Mawlamyine routes, on which the majority of passengers have been identified as business travellers, as Myanmar is experiencing an economic boom.
"These routes have terrific potential, because there are no competitors," said a Nok Air executive.
"These secondary routes are low risk and have low operating costs."
Most people prefer air transport in Myanmar, as road conditions are extremely poor and unsafe, added the executive.
For instance, land transport from Mawlamyine, the capital of Mon state, to Yangon takes eight hours, while Nok Air's flight between Mae Sot to Yangon takes 55 minutes.
It takes Nok Air 25 minutes to fly from Mae Sot to Mawlamyine, compared to over six hours on the road.
Nok Air charges 1,590 baht for an all-inclusive one-way ticket to either of the Myanmar cities from Mae Sot.
It is the only airline to offer flights from Mae Sot _ four per day on the Bangkok-Mae Sot route and one a day to Chiang Mai, all operated by Saab 340Bs.
About the author
- Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana
Position: Deputy Editor Business