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Myanmar to open Vientiane-Yangon flight
Publication Date : 20-06-2012
Myanmar Airways International plans to launch direct flights from Yangon to Vientiane at the end of this year as the two countries step up economic and trade cooperation.
“As part of our expansion plans, we will add a few more Airbuses very soon and expect to use them to fly directly from Yangon on our new routes to Vientiane, Hong Kong and Seoul,” Myanmar Times.com quoted Daw Aye Mra Tha, the airline's marketing and commercial executive, as saying.
“We are now in discussions with authorities from Laos and we hope to start operating [to Vientiane] from October.”
The announcement on the Yangon-Vientiane sector comes as Myanmar's Speaker of the House makes an official visit to Laos to boost legislative cooperation between the two neighbouring nations, as part of overall efforts to strengthen cooperation and development.
Laos and Myanmar have been engaged in serious discussions on economic and trade cooperation since early this year as the countries prepare to join forces with other Asean nations to build up the regional economic bloc of 600 million people.
Asean nations also plan to establish the Asean Free Trade Area in 2015, when goods, services and investment capital will flow freely within the region. One of the cooperation agreements will see countries in the region open up air transport to each other's territories.
During a state visit by the President of Myanmar to Laos in March, the two countries reached an agreement to reopen direct flights between Vientiane and either Yangon or Nay Pyi Taw in the near future to facilitate cooperation and boost tourism.
The two countries also agreed to enhance cooperation in agriculture to meet the growing need for food security.
Laos and Myanmar have also agreed to build a Mekong Friendship Bridge and boost cooperation in industries that have high investment potential, such as mining and agriculture.
Laos' ministry of public works and transport requested an overseas airline to open direct flights between Vientiane and Yangon a few years ago but the airline declined to do so because trade and tourism cooperation was limited at that time.
The Lao government plans to open direct flights to many Asean cities in an effort to boost tourism, trade and investment. At present, most overseas tourists and businesspeople enter and exit Laos via Bangkok, Thailand.
Laos operates direct flights to Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, China and the Republic of Korea. A direct flight to Japan is also under discussion.