Wednesday, 27 August 2008

MAI to hire F-100 aircraft for Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur flights

Nem Davies

New Delhi (Mizzima)– The Myanmar Airways International, one of the few international airlines in Burma will hire a Fokker-100 aircraft from AirBagan, another airline, for its Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur flights.

MAI's Marketing executive in Rangoon told Mizzima on Tuesday that the company will hire a 36-seat F-100 aircraft from AirBagan on a three-month contract starting August end to November.

"Currently we are facing a shortage of aircrafts that's why we have decided to hire for a three month period. We will look for other aircrafts from December 1. In fact, we are filling in with aircraft from AirBagan while we are finding replacements," the executive said.

MAI, which operates international flights to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, had earlier hired a M-82 aircraft from Thailand's 12Go and used it for its flights from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur.

Sources said MAI will use the F-100 aircraft in place of the M-82 to operate flights between Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, as MAI has to terminate its contract with 12Go over problems related to insurance.

"We have to stop using the 12Go aircraft because of insurance related problems, which is not our problem. But since we do not want to terminate our operation, and as AirBagan agreed to hire out to us, we are going to use the AirBagan aircraft for the flights," the executive said.

AirBagan, which in June suspended its Rangoon-Singapore flights for three months, said they have agreed to hire its F-100 aircraft to the semi-government owned MAI.

But an official of AirBagan declined to provide further details of the contract between the two airlines saying she was not authorized to speak to the press.

AirBagan is owned by business tycoon Tayza, who reportedly has a close relationship with the ruling junta supremo Snr. Gen Than Shwe.

Following the brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters in September 2007 by the military junta, Tayza was named one among the many cronies of the junta that supported its rule, by the United States and is among the list of people who are barred from entering the US.

Hit by the tightening economic sanctions imposed by the US, AirBagan n October 19, 2007 announced suspension of its flights between Rangoon and Singapore.

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