Myanmar has a new international operator after domestic carrier Air Bagan in May launched Airbus A310 services to the Thai capital Bangkok.

Air Bagan launched domestic services in 2004, but recently added two used A310-200 widebodies that it purchased in the hope of capitalising on growth in tourism to the reclusive state. It is now the only widebody aircraft operator in the country.

Air Bagan is controlled by one of Myanmar's largest companies, Htoo Trading, which has wide-ranging business interests including hotels and tourism. The airline is now serving Bangkok from its Yangon base. In the coming months it plans to add services to Singapore, Seoul in South Korea, Kunming in China and Siem Reap in Cambodia.

Its international launch represents a major step up for the airline, which until now has only operated domestically using ATR 42/72 turboprops and Fokker 100 regional jets. The airline added a second Fokker 100 in June. Its main home-based competitor on international routes is Myanmar Airways International, which is majority owned by the Myanmar government and 49% owned by foreign interests. It operates a Boeing MD-82 on international routes.

State-owned Myanmar Airways is the country's largest domestic carrier and operates Fokker F27s and F28s. Privately owned Air Mandalay and Yangon Airways also compete in the domestic market and use ATRs. Yangon Airways only operates scheduled domestic services while Air Mandalay also has one international destination, Chiang Mai in Thailand.

Source: Airline Business