MAI aims to enhance connectivity to existing markets & braces for the Chinese market recovery

The post MAI aims to enhance connectivity to existing markets & braces for the Chinese market recovery appeared first on TD (Travel Daily Media) Brand TD.

Tanes Kumar, Acting Chief Executive Officer & Chief Commercial Officer of Myanmar Airways International (MAI)


Myanmar Airways International (MAI) is strategically expanding its network in Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, and the Middle East, addressing both lost connections in post-2020 markets and exploring avenues for growth in the recovering Chinese market. In an interview with Brand TD, Tanes Kumar, Acting Chief Executive Officer & Chief Commercial Officer of Myanmar Airways International (MAI), shares more about the airline and its expansion plans.

Brand TD: Could you elaborate on the airline’s fleet? Tell us about the Yangon International Airport (RGN). What are you looking at in terms of growing your network and destinations?

Tanes Kumar (TK): MAI currently operates a fleet comprising 4 Airbus A319-100, 4 Airbus A320-200, and 2 Embraer 190 aircraft. Our flights connect to 10 domestic destinations in Myanmar and 14 international destinations across Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, India, UAE, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea, and Russia.

Yangon International Airport (RGN) is our primary hub as it is the country’s largest air travel gateway, serving the nation’s central commercial hub. Besides RGN, we also focus on Mandalay International Airport (MDL), our secondary hub connecting MDL to domestic and international destinations.

As we have demonstrated coming out of the pandemic, we will continue actively exploring and pursuing new destinations across Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia & the Middle East. Our approach evaluates connections lost post-2020 established markets and new markets, such as our Chennai route, to ensure we provide travellers with an extended array of options.

Brand TD: Can you elaborate on your codeshare and expansion plans in 2024? Which are your key markets? Which other potential markets are you looking at? Which route sees the maximum seat load factor for you?

TK: We have a robust codeshare and interline partnerships pipeline for 2024, including major global carriers. We have increased our partners from 33 to 41 during 2023, and for this year, we are in discussion with another six partners. We aim to conclude these partnerships to ensure we continue providing a seamless travel experience for our guests.

China remains the largest market for us. Hence, we earnestly hope that the tourism conditions between both countries will normalise so that we can relaunch the routes we operated before the pandemic. Besides that, we are considering operating direct flights to new markets such as Japan or Qatar, plus to secondary cities in the existing markets in which we are operating to provide further connectivity. We continually assess routes to optimise our network and ensure that our services meet the demands of our passengers.

As for load factors, we are experiencing high load factors in all our core markets, namely Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, followed by our India and Vietnam routes.

Brand TD: High operating costs and infrastructure constraints have hit major airlines across the world, how is MAI rising above the same?

TK: MAI is navigating the high operating costs and infrastructure constraints posed by embarking on multi-faceted initiatives internally, which cover many of our operational areas. Some of these initiatives include fuel tankering by Flight Operations, reducing wastage by Inflight Services, and enhancing or replacing our equipment to reduce wear & tear by our Ground Services. On-time performance (OTP) has also been our focus to ensure our flights are handled effectively rather than incurring unnecessary costs.

Besides focused initiatives on specific areas, MAI also embarked on a company-wide technology revamp to ensure our airline runs on a simplified approach, covering Commercial, Finance, and Operations functions. Based on this roadmap, we aim to introduce technology and digitalize existing manual processes within the company, improving efficiency and reducing manual workload.

Besides that, we also engage various external stakeholders to identify and address infrastructure challenges proactively, which may be beyond our airline’s control, which is slow in nature but moving in the right direction.

Brand TD: What has the post-COVID-19 demand and behavior changes in passengers?

TK: In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, passenger demand and behavior have noticed a noticeable shift. With a heightened emphasis on health and safety, MAI has adapted its services to meet these evolving expectations. This adaptation includes the introduction of enhanced cleanliness protocols, flexible booking options, and integration of digital solutions to ensure a secure travel experience.

In response to these changes, passengers now actively seek a cost-effective travel experience combined with value-added services. This shift reflects an awareness of the importance of health-conscious travel choices and a desire for enhanced flexibility in booking options. As MAI continues to prioritize safety and customer satisfaction, these adjustments align with the evolving preferences of travellers in the post-COVID era.

Brand TD: What kind of incentives and benefits does MAI offer to travel agents and tour operators for mutual growth in business and opportunities?

TK: Recognising the crucial role of travel agents and tour operators, MAI offers a range of incentives and benefits, which include competitive commission structures, exclusive promotional opportunities, and access to our extensive suite of services. These measures are designed to foster mutually beneficial relationships that contribute to the growth and success of our valued partners in the travel industry.

Besides the traditional and mortar partners, MAI has also been actively expanding product offers via various channels and markets, including working closely with online travel agents (OTAs) and aggregators or activating IATA Billing and Settlement (BSP) in potential markets, including offline markets.

Brand TD: What all initiatives has the Government of Myanmar taken to promote tourism? What kind of international connectivity does the destination have? How is MAI contributing to the same?

TK: The Government of Myanmar has introduced several initiatives to promote tourism, and MAI actively contributes to these endeavors by facilitating international connectivity through our expansive network. We collaborate closely with tourism authorities, engaging in comprehensive marketing activities to position Myanmar as an appealing destination. This involves reciprocally inviting key opinion leaders (KOLs) to Myanmar, hosting them, and organising familiarization (FAM) trips to popular tourist destinations nationwide.

In addition to direct engagements, MAI actively participates in international travel fairs, leveraging these platforms to exhibit Myanmar’s cultural heritage, tourism products, and the warmth of its hospitality. This global presence allows us to interact with a broad audience of travel enthusiasts and industry professionals, fostering partnerships and promoting Myanmar as a must-visit destination.

Brand TD: Why should one choose to fly with Myanmar Airways International (MAI)?

TK: As a leading airline in Myanmar, we pride ourselves on delivering outstanding service and offering various destinations across Myanmar and the region, catering to various travel segments. MAI is committed to providing seamless connections with our airline partners, adding flexibility and convenience to your travel options. Beyond our flights, we also offer various add-ons that give a modern traveller the added comforts to ensure their journey is smooth and enjoyable.

Our user-friendly platform and amiable representatives make a seamless booking experience. Our warm hospitality and punctuality further contribute to a comfortable and reliable journey, meeting travelers’ expectations and seeking flexibility. Beyond being a flight provider, MAI offers additional privileges to guests with our Sky Deals boarding pass program, ensuring an extended and enjoyable experience beyond the journey itself.


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