All Nippon Airways (ANA) on Monday resumed direct flights to Myanmar after a 12-year suspension, responding to the growing demand for business travel to the newly opened country.
The airline is the first carrier to provide a direct service between Japan and Myanmar since the latter country’s recent changes.
It will operate a three-times-weekly service using a B737 between Tokyo Narita Airport and Yangon, departing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Currently this is the maximum number of weekly flight slots agreed on by Japan and Myanmar.
ANA has decided to operate a single-class aircraft consisting of 38 business class seats only, since it expects business travellers to make up the majority of passengers.
“Currently many Japanese companies are interested, so it’s going to be mainly business,” said an ANA spokesperson. “We don’t have much leisure demand in Myanmar at present.”
The all-business class cabin on the flights to Myanmar
ANA suspended its direct flights to Myanmar 12 years ago when almost all Japanese businesses withdrew from the country after a military government came to power.
The recent opening up of Myanmar – its moves towards democracy, together with the lifting of economic sanctions last April – mean Japanese businesses are once again interested in investing in the country.
“Many companies are interested in visiting Myanmar for the first time and seeing how it is,” the spokesperson said. “In the next few years, more businesses will move in there.”
While interest in Myanmar extends across all sectors, it is particularly strong amongst the Japanese manufacturing sector.
Currently a lot of Japanese companies locate their manufacturing in China to lower costs, but they are also exploring other alternatives.
Between now and the end of March 2013 round-trip fares to Yangon will be ¥225,000 (US$2851) on weekdays and ¥305,000 (US$3865) at weekends.
For more information, visit www.ana.co.jp