Oct 15, 2012

All Nippon Airways restarts Myanmar flights

Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) on Monday restarted direct flights to Myanmar's commercial capital Yangon after a 12-year hiatus, underscoring renewed interest in the fast-reforming nation.

The carrier pointed to the rising number of business travellers and tourists headed to Myanmar, a one-time international pariah state that has recently introduced a raft of democratic reforms as it opens up to the world.

ANA, which suspended flights in 2000 due to political instability in the country, said it would have fly three flights a week between Tokyo's Narita aiport and Yangon, Myanmar's largest city and former capital.

"Myanmar has high potential for economic growth. A lot of Japanese firms have already decided to make inroads into Myanmar and many others are planning to do so," ANA President Shinichiro Ito said Monday, according to Kyodo News.

Other airlines including Hong Kong's Dragonair and Singapore Airlines have announced plans for regular flights to Yangon.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has seen a number of dramatic changes since last year such as the release of hundreds of political prisoners and the election of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament.

Myanmar officials said in July that the authorities are planning a new airport near Yangon, expected to become operational in 2016, due to the influx of visitors.

Source: AFP