Bangkok Airways sees "very good potential" in Myanmar, even though competition has affected its load factor on services to Yangon.
Speaking to Flightglobal Pro in a recent interview, its senior vice-president of network management Peter Wiesner says the number of international carriers flying to Yangon has more than doubled over the last year from 12 to the current 27.
“So, the seat load factor and profitability have gone down obviously. The hotel capacity has also not kept pace. There are a lot of business people going in and paying the hotels whatever it costs, and this is keeping away some tourists. But, I say this is temporary and within two years, the hotel situation will be overcome,” says Wiesner.
Bangkok Airways’ load factor on the Bangkok-Yangon route has dropped by some 20 percentage points to 50%, from the 65-70% mark a year ago.
“You have ANA, Korean Air, Asiana and Singapore Airlines flying with a 777 while Silkair flies with a A320. Qatar, meanwhile, is flying an A330 daily from Doha, taking away the European traffic which previously went via Bangkok,” says Wiesner. “The airlines that previously used Bangkok as a gateway, now fly direct.”
Besides a four times daily service to Yangon, Bangkok Airways also has a daily service to Mandalay and a five times weekly service to Naypyidaw. It is also studying the possibility of starting services to Bagan.
“Myanmar certainly has very good potential. It has good tourist spots and also nice beaches in the north. In the west they are also building a very big seaport. There can be a combination of businessmen and tourists into Myanmar, and if it eliminates visa requirements, tourism will take off,” says Wiesner.