RANGOON — Direct flights between Mergui, the city in Tenasserim Division also known as Myeik, and Bangkok will be offered two times a week from early May, airline officials said.
A new charter airline has been set up to operate the flight using a 168-seater Boeing 737 to link the Thai capital with coastal city in southern Burma, which is set to become the gateway to an untouched archipelago currently being opened up to tourism.
Union Express Charter Airline is a joint venture of Myanmar Union Express Aviation Group and Myeik Public Corporation. None of the companies involved appears to have a website, and it is unclear who is involved in the venture.
A representative of Myeik Public Corporation—a public company formed in 2012 that also has plans to develop four tourism projects in the Mergui Archipelago—says it will run flights every Tuesday and Friday, costing US$140 for a return ticket.
“It is the first direct flight from Myeik to Bangkok. Local residents were going to Bangkok transiting through Rangoon,” said Kyaw Myo Paing, manager of Myiek Public Corporation.
He said the direct flight would be more convenient for passengers, and would also be used to export seafood speedily to the Thai market.
Another spokesperson for Myiek Public Corporation, who declined to be named, said that each flight will carry 2 tons of cargo and 165 passengers.
“The cost of flying [between Bangkok to Myeik] will be reduced by half because there is no need to transit. The region’s fishery products can also be exported in a short time and stay fresh. And also more tourist could come to our town,” he said.
Mergui is located in the extreme south of the country on the coast of an island in the Andaman Sea. To the south and west lie the archipelago of more than 800 islands skirted by mostly untouched beaches and coral reefs suitable for Scuba diving.
A Myeik Public Company representative said in January that the company—reportedly founded by local business people with start-up capital of $50 million—would build tourist resorts including hotels, houses, golf courses and shops on four of the islands. The company expects to spend $10 million on the developments over the next four years.