Myanmar international passenger growth slows but China market booms

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Myanmar’s aviation market has grown rapidly over the past decade, tripling in size. However, 2018 marked by far the slowest rate of growth this decade.

International passenger traffic grew by only 2% as visitor numbers to Myanmar increased by less than 3%. Tourism is critical to Myanmar as inbound visitors account for most international traffic and a large portion of domestic traffic, which declined by 5% in 2018. 

A bright spot has been the Myanmar-China market, which grew rapidly in 2018 boosted by a 40% increase in Chinese visitor numbers. Even faster growth from China is expected in 2019 due to a new more liberal visa policy introduced in late 2018 that has already led to several airlines entering the Myanmar-China market.

There are 26 routes connecting Myanmar and China in Feb-2019, compared to only six a year ago. The number of airlines competing in the Myanmar-China market has grown from four to 11 as seat capacity has more than doubled.

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