Yangon Aerodrome Co Ltd, operator of Yangon International Airport (YIA), has announced the launch of Qingdao Airlines’ direct flight between Yangon and Ningbo in Zhejiang, China.
Qingdao Airlines will operate an Airbus A320 aircraft with the capacity for 180 passengers for the new service that will operate every Monday and Friday between Yangon and Ningbo, a major seaport south of Shanghai and also Zhejiang province’s second-largest city.
With the addition of Qingdao Airlines, YIA now connects to 35 international destinations, 18 of which are cities from China. A total of 13 Chinese carriers now operate between China and YIA.
Just a day before, Chinese service carrier Ruili Arilines announced its second direct flight from Yangon and Dehong, Yunnan Province.
Ruili Airlines will be flying four times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays from Yangon to Dehong, the airport said in a statement. Ruili Airlines’ first direct flight commenced between Mangshi to Mandalay on January 31.
Dehong is situated on the China-Myanmar border and known for its Hinayana Buddhist temples, stretches of Banyan trees, and the Dai ethnic group. The Dai ethnic group celebrates a festival similar to Myanmar’s Thingyan and splash water for 3-4 days in April.
YIA has seen a passenger increase of more than 6 percent over the last 12 months due to the new routes to and from China. Passenger traffic at Yangon increased to 4.6 million in the first nine months of 2019, 6.5pc higher than the previous year.
As tourism was badly affected by the northern Rakhine crisis, the government has granted visa-on-arrival arrangements for citizens from six Western countries this year, after relaxing the visas for six territories in 2018.
Tourists from Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Russia have been given visa-on-arrival access for US$50 each at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw airports, starting this month.
Last October, tourists from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Macau were granted visa-free entry into Myanmar, while Indian and Chinese nationals were given visas-on-arrival. These arrangements have been renewed this year.
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