Myanmar airlines, airports, domestic flight network

Myanmar (Burma) is a small, less popular and relatively poorer country. Take a guess-how many airports do you think Myanmar has? How many airlines do you think operate in Myanmar?
Before visiting Myanmar, I also had no idea. I was thinking it may have just a few airports and one or two airlines- but I was totally wrong. The aviation scene in Myanmar is much more wider and bigger than what I had thought.

There’re at least 7 airlines based in Myanmar
  1. Myanmar National Airlines- seem to be the biggest, govt owned
  2. Myanmar Airways International
  3. Air Mandalay
  4. Air KBZ
  5. Golden Myanmar Airways
  6. Mann Yadanarpon Airlines
  7. Yangon Airways
Now that is a good number of airlines to fly around Myanmar. Let us look at number of airports- Below is the network of Myanmar National Airways- they fly to close to 25 different airports within Myanmar, as per this route map that I saw outside their office close to Custom House in Yangon Downtown. A wikipedia page lists 50+ airports in Myanmar- but not all are operational or civilian.
But there is one thing to note about flying within Myanmar- despite so many airlines and so many airports, domestic flights are NOT cheap. Most domestic flights cost around 100 USD one way. You should be lucky if you spot a slightly cheaper 75-80 USD fare. At times fares go up to 150 USD+ one way. When I was planning my trip to Myanmar, I did check a possibility of flying to Mandalay or some other destination. But the 200-250 USD round trip fare was very discouraging- it would cost me more to fly within Myanmar than what I paid Air Asia to fly me from India to Yangon and back (12800 INR or 180 USD) Because of this I decided NOT to fly domestic in Myanmar, stay focused on areas around Yangon and may be plan a separate trip to Mandalay, Bagan n Inle area sometimes in future.

In India, for about 100 USD or less you can fly all the way from Tiruvanathapuram in extreme south to National Capital Delhi- about 3 hours flying. But in Myanmar, even one hour flights cost around 100 USD, which is discouraging. May be Myanmar doesn’t have too many people flying domestic- if they can’t fill up the plane, they have to raise per ticket price. Or may be the airlines there are able to sell enough tickets at this higher price so they don’t see a need to sell them cheaper- I don’t know.

Airlines in Myanmar don’t have serious competition from rail or road. There’s no high speed train in Myanmar, nor wide and smooth expressways network. So if you don’t want to fly, your next best option will be to endure a really long train or bus journey. I am guessing because of this many tourists would prefer to take a flight even if it is a bit expensive.

I think the catch is in capacity- Between say Mumbai and Delhi there''re probably 100 flights every single day- assuming each flight seats 150 people, airlines in India need to find 15000 people willing to pay and fly between Delhi n Mumbai every day.

But the numbers tell a different story in Myanmar- Between Yangon and Mandaly, there're only 10-12 flights per day, some of them being ATRs. So all 7 airlines put together need just about 1000 people to fly between these cities. Not very difficult- some tourists, some businessmen, may be govt officials etc will usually fill the plane

The fleet:
Most airlines use smaller aircrafts- ATRs and Embraer so it is easy to fill up a flight. Others use A320/B737 family mostly for international flights. No wide body jets yet.

According to Wikipedia page, there’s been only 4 major aircraft related accidents in Myanmar so far. I think that qualifies as a fairly safe operational history

Flying international
Myanmar based airlines fly to select international destinations in the neighborhood. Chiang Mai, Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore, Hong Kong, Kolkata, Gaya (India) etc are some of the select international destinations to which Myanmar based airlines fly.

Do they fly direct to India?
Only two Burmese airlines fly direct between India and Myanmar- MIA or Myanmar airlines International has flights between Yangon and Kolkata, as well as Yangon and Budh Gaya in Bihar.  Myanmar National airlines flies between Buddh Gaya and Yangon. Our Air India also flies non stop between Delhi-Yangon and Gaya-Yangon. But these direct flights tend to get extremely expensive. Low cost carriers like Air Asia can fly you there for one third the price via their hubs in Bangkok or kuala Lumpur. Further most of these don’t surface on websites like Makemytrip- you will have to check on the airline’s respective website.

This website will help you find domestic flights in Myanmar easily

So that’s what I have about airlines and domestic flights in Myanmar- let me know your thoughts..


  1. Very interesting and informative post, specially the number of accidents is really surprising...with so many airlines there


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