Myanmar aviation outlook: traffic growth exceeds 16% in 2016 but local airlines continue to struggle

Myanmar was again one of the fastest growing markets in Southeast Asia – and the world – in 2016. Domestic passenger numbers were up 15% in 2016 and have doubled since 2010, while international passenger numbers increased by 17% and have doubled since 2012.  

Myanmar’s aviation market grew rapidly in the period from 2012 to 2014, in the immediate aftermath of liberalisation, but growth slowed in 2015. The reacceleration of growth in 2016 could be a result of further liberalisation and another surge in visitor numbers following the late 2015 election of a new government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

However, Myanmar’s market continues to suffer from overcapacity and intense competition, which makes it nearly impossible for any of the 11 local airlines to become profitable. Foreign airlines dominate the international market and the domestic market is extremely fragmented, with several subscale competitors.

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