On Thursday, October 26, a festive gathering in Moscow commemorated the initiation of flight routes between Myanmar and Russia, which were officially launched in September 2023.
These direct air links between Russia and Myanmar were established on September 5, with Myanmar Airways International leading the way. The carrier’s maiden flight, covering the Yangon-Mandalay-Novosibirsk route, marked the inception of this connection.
So far, Myanmar Airways has successfully conducted 12 flights, serving approximately 500 Russian passengers, opening up a gateway to explore Myanmar.
The flight to Novosibirsk is operated with an Airbus A319, which comes with certain passenger capacity limitations. Nevertheless, representatives from Myanmar view this route as a “strategic” one, with the long-term objective of attracting more tourists from Siberia and the Far East to Myanmar.
Flights to Moscow
The next stop on Myanmar Airways’ journey is flights to Moscow. The airline is actively working to expand its flight network. However, the current challenge lies in the airline’s existing fleet, primarily composed of Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft, which aren’t suited for long-haul direct flights.
The company is evaluating two potential solutions to overcome this hurdle. The first option is to expand the aircraft fleet by acquiring more suitable long-haul aircraft. The second approach involves indirect flights with layovers to reach destinations that are not within the current aircraft’s range.
In either case, the issue will be addressed. As emphasized by Mr. Kumar, direct flights connecting Myanmar Airways and Moscow are anticipated to commence in the latter half of 2024.
Representatives from Myanmar Airways are confident that the expansion of their flight program will pique Russian interest in Myanmar. Over time, this destination could emerge as a competitive option for Russians exploring Southeast Asia.
Aside from the diverse tourism opportunities within Myanmar, encompassing everything from sightseeing to beach getaways, travelers can utilize the Novosibirsk-Mandalay route as a convenient transit point for further explorations throughout Southeast Asia.
Alexander Shakhnazarov, the representative of Myanmar Airways International in Russia, elucidated that the airline currently operates 28 international flights and 10 domestic routes. For travelers departing from Novosibirsk, these flights extend to various destinations, including Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Hanoi (Vietnam), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), and Kolkata (India).
Layover durations can vary, ranging from 1 to 7 hours. Furthermore, with the added convenience that Russian travelers no longer require visas for Myanmar, longer stopovers in the country become an attractive prospect.