Myanmar puts a hold on international flights until at least October

According to Myanmar’s National Tourism Development Central Committee vice-president, Myanmar’s airports are unlikely to re-open to international commercial flights until at least October this year. There is no guarantee, however, that even if the country opens its skies to international flights, there will be any takers other than airlines offering repatriation flights. Border closures around the world have grounded entire fleets of planes and put smaller airlines in financial peril.

Domestic flights are currently operating, as in Thailand, but are restricted to Burmese citizens and foreign residents registered to stay and work in the country. Since the end of March, foreign tourists have been stranded in the country waiting for repatriation flights home. Hundreds of Burmese are also waiting overseas for an opportunity to return home with scant flights returning to Myanmar.

Myanmar ‘s government said that when it reopens commercial flights, it will be restricted to routes serving neighboring cities in the ASEAN region and perhaps later, countries across Asia.

Initially, officials hoped that “travel bubbles” or corridors could be established with Thailand and Vietnam to resume direct flights with passengers who would be exempt from the 14 day quarantine rules, but that is now unlikely to happen. Thailand’s ‘travel bubble’ scheme is also ‘on hold’ as the Government continue to assess the risks whilst repatriating its own citizens – many testing positive after their arrival in Thailand.

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Second and third wave infections have occurred in countries such as Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan , and Australia, making it almost impossible to establish a partnership with low-risk countries.

Only freight, medical evacuation and special flights are approved by the Department of Civil Aviation in Myanmar at this stage. But the Government of Myanmar is operating a few repatriation flights, bringing Myanmar citizens back from Thailand, Singapore , India and Korea.

Myanmar has reported 321 confirmed cases of Covid-19, 250 of which have reportedly recovered. Hardly any serious testing is taking place.

SOURCE: TTR Weekly

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