Aug 6, 2016

Emirates spreads its wings to tap Myanmar aviation growth

The United Arab Emirates based Emirates, one of the world’s largest international airlines, is set to launch a daily flight from Dubai to Yangon and then to Hanoi, Vietnam, starting on August 3.

At first, the flight touchdown and take off will be daily, but depending on the numbers of passengers, the airline will increase the numbers of flight if needed.

“Our flight in the first month is already overbooked. We have many countries like that, one example is with Bangkok. We started with one flight but now we have seven every day,” Mohammad Sarhan, Emirates Country Manager for Thailand and Myanmar, told Myanmar Business Today.

Sarhan said Emirates will use Myanmar nationals for cabin crews on their flights to Yangon, but there are very few trained cabin crew available from Myanmar. He said the company will continue to recruit from Myanmar.

“We have nationalities from all over the world. We have cabin crews from Myanmar, but the numbers now are small. We just started recruiting them more. It’s not about the numbers. We are very focused on taking care of the service for our passengers. Sometimes, we hold recruitment campaigns, we meet 100 but only a few people qualified. We have specific guidelines. Sometimes, we don’t need any experience but we look for smart people,” Sarhan said.

According to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the number of tourists travelling to Myanmar increases year by year, with 4.68 million in 2015, an increase of 52 percent in comparison with 2014. However, the numbers are heavily doubted by experts.

There were 1.8 million visitors in the first five months of 2016 and government hopes to have 5 million in this year. The government is also targeting 7.5 million tourist arrivals by 2020 according to country’s Tourism Master Plan.

“Myanmar has some tough times in the past and now we have democratic government so there are lots of plans to open up and welcome businesses. Around the region, we fly to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, we fly to Phuket, we fly to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and we have really good coverage in that area, but we were missing Myanmar. So, now is a good time as businesses are growing, the country is coming up and we also see those passengers coming to us from Yangon, so we can see the volumes”, Sarhan said.

For the new route, the company will use a three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft which offers eight seats in first class, 42 seats in business class and 310 seats in economy class. A limit of one 30 kilogram checked bag will be allowed for economy class, 40kg in business class and 50kg in first class. The ticket price for the flight between Dubai and Myanmar will start from $700.

Currently, there is a weekly cargo service between Dubai and Hanoi with a capacity of 260 tonnes – Emirates hope to offer this service in Myanmar.

For Myanmar nationals travelling to the United Arab Emirates, the visa process will be done via the internet due to the absence of a UAE embassy in Myanmar. Passengers can buy the tickets over the internet and the company has partnered with the United Overseas Bank for financial processes.

Emirates is also holding talks with local airlines, travel agencies and hotels to provide services for international visitors who want to travel around Myanmar.

Source: Myanmar Business Today