Air Mandalay has suspended all scheduled and charter services to restructure its business, the fourth domestic airline in Myanmar to wind up in the face of high fuel prices and slower than projected demand.
Myanmar’s second oldest airline suspended services starting from September 4, with no confirmed date for the resumption of operations. Speaking to the Myanmar Times, Air Mandalay’s spokesperson May Thandar Wi said this would be subject to market conditions.
The airline joins Air Bagan, Apex airline and FMI Air to have wound down, leaving six domestic businesses to compete in the sector.
The company stated in a press release that it “has been extremely difficult” to operate in the country and the situation has worsened since 2011, when “a number of new airline licenses were approved to operate in the country.
While president Thein Sein’s administration since 2011 limited the number of airlines operating in the country to 10, there is already too much competition and an overcapacity in the small market. Along with high operational costs, this has seen many domestic airlines making losses, May Thandar Win told the Myanmar Times.
And in 2014-15, the airline was unable to operate for more than a year due to the delay in issuance of import permit for its two Embraer ERJ145 jet aircraft and a nine-month delay in 2017-18.
A foreign private joint venture airline with the government incorporated on October 6, Air Mandalay’s routes before the recent suspension covered Yangon, Myitkyina in Kachin, Sittwe in Rakhine and Tachileik in Shan.