Golden Myanmar Airlines
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Golden Myanmar Airlines, a Myanmar based carrier, became the eighth airline in the country when it launched services in Jan-2013. The carrier operates domestic and international services from its main hub at Mandalay International Airport and its secondary hub at Yangon International Airport. The carrier plans to expand its fleet with a new aircraft every six months with the aim of operating services to the Middle East, Europe, Australia and the US over the next few years.
Location of Golden Myanmar Airlines main hub (Mandalay International Airport)
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Myanmar’s domestic market continues to struggle, dragged down by slow growth and unprofitability. Consolidation has been elusive, resulting in 10 players for a market of less than 3 million passengers.
Mergers and exits are inevitable. The current situation, with several airlines competing on relatively small trunk routes, is unsustainable. The new government could pursue reforms that shake up Myanmar’s airline sector and improve profitability. However, change is hardly a certainty.
This is the third in a series of analysis reports on the Myanmar market. The first report focused on the foreign airline sector and the overall growth in Myanmar’s dynamic international market. The second report examined the outlook for Myanmar’s two main international operators, Myanmar Airways International (MAI) and Myanmar National Airlines (MNA).
Competition has further intensified in Myanmar’s domestic market as two more airlines have launched services while Air Mandalay has resumed operations after a six-month hiatus. There are now 10 airlines operating domestic scheduled services in Myanmar, a staggering figure for a market of only 2.2 annual million passengers.
On most main trunk routes competition is fierce with as up to eight carriers competing, often with nearly identical schedules. Consolidation seems inevitable and several airlines in Myanmar have been seeking new investors.
The latest start-ups, APEX Airlines and FMI Air, sought to carve out a niche with bases at the sleepy capital Nay Pyi Taw. But capacity on the Yangon-Nay Pyi Taw route, which saw less than 100,000 passengers in 2014, has quickly doubled as two of the existing carriers, Air KBZ and Asian Wings, entered at nearly the same time as the two start-ups.
Competition in Myanmar is set to intensify further as several of the country’s airlines pursue ambitious fleet expansion. Two Burmese carriers used the recent Farnborough Airshow to order new aircraft, putting the Myanmar market in the spotlight as local carriers attempt to capture some of the rapid growth which so far has mainly benefitted foreign airlines.
Domestic market leader Myanma Airways has committed to acquiring at least six ATR 72-600s, adding to orders the government owned carrier placed in early 2014 with GECAS for 10 737s. Meanwhile one of its eight privately owned local competitors, Air Mandalay, has committed to at least six MRJ90 regional jets.
Myanmar’s airline sector currently consists of nine airlines, including eight domestic operators, with a combined fleet of just over 40 aircraft. The total fleet in Myanmar could double over the next few years as several existing carriers expand and new airlines enter the market. But such rapid growth may not be sustainable and consolidation seems inevitable.
Myanmar Airways International outlook: intense competition, shrinking market share create challenges
Myanmar Airways International (MAI) is aiming to expand its network with a focus on North Asia as the privately owned flag carrier tries to carve out a niche in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Foreign carriers have more than doubled their capacity to Myanmar over the last two years, but MAI has cut capacity, leading to under-utilisation of its A320 fleet. MAI only captured a 12% share of Myanmar’s international market in 2013, down from a 19% share in 2012.
MAI has struggled to compete on its core routes as foreign carriers including LCCs expanded aggressively. MAI now faces the prospect of new competition from other local carriers which are seeking to expand into the international market. MAI has generally been Myanmar’s only international carrier for the last two decades.
(CAPA will shortly publish a comprehensive Myanmar Aviation, Tourism and Travel Sector Report. For details please contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
Market conditions in the highly competitive Myanmar domestic airline market could become even more challenging as competition further intensifies. There are currently eight airlines operating in Myanmar’s domestic market, with a ninth close to launching services and two more aiming to begin operations by the end of 2014.
Consolidation is likely as almost every carrier is unprofitable. But there is some hope for improvement as Myanmar has promised to put a moratorium on more start-ups and eliminate taxes on fuel and aircraft.
Passenger demand also continues to grow as Myanmar emerges as a popular tourist destination and the economy expands. There are huge long-term opportunities but for now the domestic market environment is difficult and is not particularly conducive for the low-cost model.
Myanmar has seen a large influx of low-cost carrier capacity over the last 18 months as the two longstanding LCC players in the market, AirAsia and Jetstar, have expanded, while three LCCs have entered. LCC traffic in Myanmar’s international market grew by 70% in 2013 as the penetration rate increased from 20% to 26%.
But the expansion has come at a cost as LCC load factors in Myanmar’s two largest international markets, Thailand and Singapore, have tumbled as competition has intensified. The average LCC international load factor in Myanmar was only 63% in 2013.
Market conditions should eventually improve as demand catches up with supply. But consolidation and/or capacity cuts are likely in the near term.