This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 7/8/2016


Myanmar has 69 airports:  three international, 30 domestic airports, and 36 dormant.  The government spends about $12 million annually. Air traffic demand from international and domestic flights is increasing rapidly and airport infrastructure needs to be renovated to accommodate this growth.  According to the Myanmar Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), the number of passengers in 2013 increased to 4.2 million from 3.6 million in 2012.  By 2030, that number is expected to rise to 30 million.

The aviation market in Myanmar is competitive, especially among local airlines.  The private airlines own a small number of aircraft.   Currently, the market is oversaturated, preventing private airlines from achieving economies of scales and lowering cost.  While the Government of Myanmar (GOM) has invested US$37 million into corporatizing, rebranding, and expanding the services of Myanmar National Airlines (MNA) in an effort to make it more competitive internationally, the airline must also contend with the arrival of 22 foreign carriers to the Burmese market.  The foreign carriers collectively serve 87 percent of passengers, mainly foreign business travelers and tourists, traveling to and from foreign destinations.  The growth in passenger demand, primarily due to the increase in tourism, has not kept pace with the growth of providers, and Myanmar is likely to face a consolidation in the aviation market after several years of consistent growth.  Regardless of the oversupply issues affecting the market, Myanmar’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) intends to strengthen the aviation sector.  Its new strategic plan includes improving infrastructure and promoting the airline business, as well as securing or updating air service agreements with international partners, including the United States.

There are now 11 local licensed airlines in Myanmar. Myanma Airways International (MAI) is entirely an international operator while both Air Bagan and Golden Myanmar currently only operate one international route – Yangon to Chiang Mai in Thailand. The rest of the routes are domestic scheduled services, accounting for 2.2 million passengers annually. The rebranded Myanma National Airlines (previously Myanma Airways) is working with AviaSolutions, the consulting branch of GE Capital Services (GECAS), on restructuring, corporatizing, and rebranding.  In 2014, MNA ordered six new ATR 72-600 planes from ATR to support its domestic expansion.  To facilitate its international expansion, MNA also signed a US$1 billion deal in 2014 with GECAS to lease 10 Boeing 737-800 planes, including six current generation aircraft and four 737 MAX 8s, three have already been delivered and deliveries will continue through 2020, with the next delivery scheduled to take place later this year.  As part of this expansion, MNA launched a Yangon-Singapore route on August 17 of 2015, and has plans to add four more international destinations in the Asia-Pacific region by early 2016, including new routes to Hong Kong and Taipei scheduled to start the first week of December.  MNA is exploring routes to Malaysia, Thailand, China, Japan, and South Korea.  MNA is the largest domestic carrier and serves 30 destinations with its fleet of 12 aircraft.

There are 28 international airlines serving Yangon.  Thailand is currently the largest foreign participant in the Burmese aviation market followed by Singapore. Thai Airways/Thai Smile has the highest market share at 12 percent, followed by Bangkok Airways with 11 percent, Thai Air Asia holding 8 percent, Nok Air (Thailand) 6 percent and Air Asia (Malaysia) 5.5 percent. These airlines have secured a significant share of the Myanmar international travel market because of connections from their hubs, ability to offer lower fares, and brand recognition.  As MNA looks to expand in North Asia, it is likely to experience the same uphill battle against Japanese, Korean, and Chinese air carriers that already serve the Burmese market. Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group currently has 62 percent share of total seat capacity and 23 of the 40 weekly flights between Myanmar and Singapore are on SIA carriers, including nine flights offered by Silk Air, seven offered by Singapore Airlines, and seven offered by Tiger Air.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects

Airport Infrastructure: One of the major objectives of DCA’s strategic plan is to strengthen Myanmar’s aviation infrastructure.  Currently, Yangon International Airport is estimated to have the capacity of serving 2.7 million passengers per year.  In 2014 the GOM contracted Pioneer Aerodrome Services, a subsidiary of Asia World Group (an entity on the U.S. List of Specially Designated Nationals), for a US$150 million upgrade on Yangon International Airport.  The first phase of the project opened in March 2016.

A consortium comprised of Singapore’s Yongnam Holdings, Changi Airport Planners and Engineers, and Japan’s JGC Corporation was selected by the Ministry of Transport to build the airport, which is located on a 9000-acre (3642-hectare) site in Bago Region which is located 850 kilometers from the center of Yangon.  A joint venture led by South Korea’s Incheon International Airport Corporation won the original contract to build the airport in August 2013, but the tender was reopened in February when the government and officials from the group could not agree on certain aspects of the proposal. Hanthawaddy International Airport, which is set to be the largest airport in the country, will cost approximately $1.1 billion to develop and will accommodate 12 million passengers per year in phase 1 and 30 million passengers per year in phase 2.  The GOM expects that the new airport will be fully operational by 2022.

The Request of Interest (ROI) for upgrading 30 domestic airports was put out in 2014 and 46 firms responded. Tenders for additional domestic airports will be launched to international and local firms phase by phase, no tender announcements have been made yet.  In order to implement all the desired airport infrastructure developments, DCA is strengthening its policies and drafting the Myanmar Airport Authority law.  The law will regulate airport services and enable the privatization of airports.  DCA also aims to “strengthen the businesses of local carriers” by developing better safety standards and quality of service.  U.S. firms have been invited to help develop standards and quality of general aviation in Myanmar as well as airport infrastructure.

Aircrafts and parts: The total value of imports for civilian aircraft, engines, equipment, and parts to Myanmar from the U.S in 2012 was US$25 million.  In 2015, it increased to over US$104 million. There is a strong demand for aircrafts and spare parts from U.S. brands in Myanmar.


DCA has a strategic plan to further expand the aviation sector with four objectives: pursue the liberalization of economic regulations in the aviation sector; strengthen air linkages; promote airline businesses; and improve infrastructure.  Opportunities related to these areas are open to the U.S. firms. With the successful transition to the new government, the potential for continued increase in tourism and business activity will require ongoing improvements in Myanmar’s aviation sector.

Web Resources

Myanmar Government Offices

Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC)

Department of Civil Aviation (DCA)

Myanmar National Airlines (MNA)

Contact for Commercial Service Myanmar

May Thet Win, Sr. Commercial Specialist

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More Information

Burma Aerospace and Defense Trade Development and Promotion