Thursday, October 11, 2007

MAI Cancels Flights Due to Lack of Planes

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma

10th October 2007

Regarding the news that MAI has cancelled its flights to Bangkok, DVB has a more comprehensive report.

According to DVB, MAI has had to cancel its flights as it does not have enough planes to continue operating. The board of directors are apparently still deliberating over the issue and hence, no official announcement has been made over the cancellation of flights.

A ticket agent said:

“We know that the flights will be cancelled from tomorrow onwards. They (MAI) will transfer the passengers to TG (Thai Airway) flights. I think they will resume operations soon. But we don’t know for sure yet. We only received the news today. We’ll have more info tomorrow.”

According to DVB, MAI and Thai Airways have a codeshare agreement in place. MAI also has similar agreements with Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Jetstar Airways.

Currently, MAI has three planes (a Boeing 707-800 and two McDonnell Douglas MD82) which it uses to ply between Rangoon and Southeast Asian cities of Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore.

MAI is co-owned by junta which holds a 40% stake. Its two other shareholders are Hongkong-based Region Air Myanmar (HK) Pte Ltd (49%) and a privately-owned Zen Company (11%).

Many tourists have cancelled their travel plans to Burma since the brutal crackdown started on the peaceful demonstrators in the last week of September. Typically, tourists make up 40% of the passengers traveling from Bangkok to Rangoon on flights run by MAI, Air Asia, Air Mandalay and Air Bagan, according to industry sources, who said they now see no tourists on board these flights.

There are rumours that junta is intending to increase its stakes in MAI and that Air Bagan boss, Tayza (the son-in-law of Gen Than Shwe), is also preparing to take over some of its shares.

There are also unconfirmed news that the company renting the planes to MAI have refused to continue the lease of the planes after the crackdown last month.

For the full article in Burmese, please follow this link:

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