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Myanmar international airline market Part 3: A steep slowdown in growth. Has the bubble burst?


Growth in Myanmar’s international market is starting to slow significantly and will likely end 2015 in the single digits, ending a streak of five consecutive years of at least 20% growth. Not a single foreign airline has launched services to Myanmar over the last 18 months and several of the 22 foreign carriers currently serving the market have cut capacity in recent months.

Myanmar’s two main international carriers have also reduced capacity. But several domestic carriers are planning to launch international services, which could lead to overcapacity on several routes as the growth in demand has started to slow significantly.

This is Part 3 in a series of reports on the Myanmar aviation market. Part 1 looked at the highly competitive domestic airline sector, where there are now 10 competitors, following the launch of APEX Airlines and FMI Air and the resumption of operations at Air Mandalay.
Part 2 analysed the international expansion plans of the recently rebranded Myanmar National Airlines, which is the leading domestic carrier and plans to re-launch international flights in Aug-2015 after a 22 year hiatus.

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Understanding the Asia Pacific growth opportunities: Tony Fernandes explains the market

No-one doubts that Asia will become the dominant world aviation market over coming decades. North America and its airlines will necessarily be major beneficiaries of that expansion. For the time being however, the US-China market is only one third the size of US-UK’s and much lower yielding; Asia’s two biggest markets, China and Japan combined are still smaller than the UK market. But China-US capacity will double in the two years to Jul-2017, a trajectory that is likely to continue.
Meanwhile the nature of the Asian aviation markets has evolved greatly over the period of a decade. In Southeast Asia, nearly two thirds of all airline seats are on low-cost airlines, none of which existed a decade ago, implying a highly price sensitive underlying market.

In North Asia, this low-cost, price sensitive phenomenon is starting to take hold as well, albeit from a much lower market share. But it is growing fast, with many new entrants.

To understand fully how these forces will influence Asian consumer demand, we hear from Malaysia based Tony Fernandes, the man who sparked the LCC revolution in Asia and whose airline, AirAsia, has now carried 50 million passengers. In doing so, he has effectively deregulated international aviation across much of Asia.
The remarkable airline, with 9 operating entities, including cross border joint ventures in various countries, also includes three long-haul low-cost operators.

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