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Formed and started operations in 2004. Domestic, regional & international, scheduled & charter, passenger & cargo, jet airplane services.
No 56 Shwe Taung Gyar Street
MYANMAR (UNION OF MYANMAR) WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1948, IT COVERS AN AREA OF 676,552 SQ KM, ITS POPULATION IS 47 MILLION, ITS CAPITAL CITY IS YANGON, AND ITS OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IS BURMESE.
October 2006: Took delivery of its first A310-222 (419, XY-AGD) - see photo, ex-China Eastern Airlines (CEA), Phoenix Aircraft leased.
November 2006: 191 employees.
January 2007: Starting April 1st, new flights, daily Yangon to Bangkok; & to Singapore; 2/week to Mandalay to Kunming, using A310.
May 2007: Launched international services from Yangon to Bangkok.
January 2011: Air Bagan (BGN) receives its third ATR 72-500. (BGN) will launch a Yangon - Phuket service this year using its Fokker F 100. Air Bagan was planning to use its A310s on international routes, but in 2007, it suddenly suspended many of its international services, including flights to Singapore, because of USA trade sanctions. The sanctions made it hard to work with international banks and, therefore, precluded doing business outside of Myanmar. Air Bagan (BGN)’s owner Tay Za and his main company, Htoo Trading, are on a USA sanctions list. The USA says Tay Za has sold arms to Myanmar’s military.
August 2011: Air Bagan (BGN) is a domestic and international airline, operating a comprehensive domestic network serving 15 towns and cities across the country from Yangon, the capital and Mandalay, together with international services to Cambodia, China, Singapore, and Thailand.
Employees = 250 (including 14 Flight Crew (FC), 21 Cabin Attendants (CA), & 16 Maintenance Technicians (MT)).
Air Bagan (BGN) employs a mix of local and foreign pilots (FC), who have accumulated thousands of flight hours flying all over Myanmar and various parts of the world. They are adept and have experience with all types of terrain and weather conditions.
(IATA) Code: W9 - 017. (ICAO) CODE: JAB - (Callsign - AIR BAGAN).
Parent organization/shareholders: H Too Trading.
Main Base: Yangon Mingaladon International Airport (RGN).
Hub: Mandalay Chanmyathazi airport (MDL).
Domestic scheduled destinations: Bagan/Nyaing U; Bassein; Dawei; Heho; Kalay Myo; Kaw-thaung; Keng Tung; Kyaing Tong; Lashio; Loikaw; Mandalay; Myeik; Myitkyina; Naypyitaw; Pathein; Putao; Sittwe; Tachileik; Thandwe; & Yangon.
International destinations: Bangkok; Kunming; Siem Reap; & Singapore.
Its logo, the lotus in Myanmar culture symbolizes purity, and the promise of man to aim for the highest within himself. This logo, is the focal point of (BGN)'s corporate identity, it communicates a synthesis of bold, modern entrepreneurial principles, and its aim is to be the best combined with Myanmar culture, which is believed will be a symbol of achievement for a new era.
December 2012: ACCDT: An accident happened to Air Bagan (BGN) flight W9-011 during landing near Heho airport at 08:50 am on December 25, 2012. The Fokker F 100 airplane was carrying 65 passengers, 6 crew members including a pilot (FC) and a co-pilot (FC).
The emergency exit was opened as soon as the airplane landed in the nearby field and passengers were evacuated by the cabin crew. Eight passengers were injured as the airplane caught fire and were taken to the nearest Sao San Tun hospital in Taung Gyi for treatment.
Ma Nwe Lin Shein, a tour guide, was identified as the only fatality on board. U Pyar who was traveling on a motor cycle on the ground was hit by the airplane as it landed and was killed.
26 of the passengers were brought back to Yangon on a special flight arranged by Air Bagan (BGN) and were taken to Victoria hospital for medical check-up. They were to be accommodated at the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel after being discharged from the hospital. All remaining passengers including the 8 injured ones arrived at Yangon on an Air Bagan (BGN) special flight.
Air Bagan (BGN) in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport is investigating into the cause of the accident.
Air Bagan (BGN) was the country’s 1st privately run carrier when it was established in 2004 and is owned by Tay Za, a tycoon with links to the former military government.
February 2014: Air Bagan (BGN) is the 1st fully privately owned airline of Myanmar and one of the major domestic carriers. (BGN) commenced operations in 2004 and is a subsidiary of Htoo Trading. Air Bagan (BGN) currently serves 21 domestic destinations with a fleet of 2 ATR 42s and 2 ATR 72s. The average age of the fleet is 20.6 years. In 2007 ((BGN) commenced international flights to several Asian destinations. Nearly all services were dropped later. Currently the only international destination is Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Air Bagan (BGN) has a lot of private and government-owned competitors. Since the political changes in Myanmar a lot of new start-up carriers have been launched in the country.
July 2015: INCDT: Air Bagan (BGN) ATR 72-212 (PW127) (469, /95 XY-AIH) skidded off the runway, while landing at Yangon International Airport in Myanmar on July 24, injuring at least 1 passenger.
Flight W9-424 originated in Mandalay with 49 passengers and 5 crew ((FC) - (CA)) members.
According to reports, the ATR 72-212 landed around 1900 hrs local time in heavy rain, with significant cumulonimbus activity apparent from 1,500 feet.
The aircraft landed, but skidded off the tarmac and came to rest with its port undercarriage sunk into soft soil off the edge of the runway. It is not clear if it suffered significant structural damage.
The ATR 72-200 suffered a collapse of its left main landing gear before veering 75 ft off the side of Yangon's runway 21.
All passengers and crew disembarked safely following the incident, but the airport was closed for more than >2 hours following the incident and 7 flights were diverted to other airports, according to the Ministry of Transport.
Air Bagan (BGN), which operates service to 20 domestic destinations in Myanmar, has a fleet of 3 ATR 72s and 1 ATR 42 aircraft. The nose wheel of the turboprop was also damaged during the accident, which happened in rain and reduced visibility. Only minor injuries were reported among the 54 occupants.
In December 2012, an Air Bagan (BGN) Fokker F 100 crashed at Heho Airport in Burma, killing 1 passenger and 1 person on the ground.
August 2015: "Air Bagan (BGN) Stops Flying Due to Operational Problems" by (ATW) Jeremy Torr, August 21, 2015.
Myanmar domestic carrier, Air Bagan (BGN) has stopped operations following the off-runway excursion of one of its 2 ATR 72-500 aircraft at Yangon Airport last month.
(BGN) suspended all flight operations from August 16, but has said it will be adding more aircraft to its fleet to help it resume operations. “Air Bagan (BGN) is currently planning to add more fleet in time for October,” said (BGN) Managing Director, Htoo Thet Htwe.
A statement from the airline cited “maintenance check and restructuring plan” requirements for the withdrawal. However, it could also have also been prompted by increasing concerns over safety, operations and maintenance certification across the rapidly expanding number of carriers using airports in Myanmar.
The stop-flight decision follows a similar suspension of flights by Air Mandalay (AMP). That carrier cancelled operations for 5 months to May this year, following non-arrival of certified leased aircraft and problems maintaining its existing ATR turboprop fleet.
Although Air Bagan (BGN) is still selling tickets, it is channeling all passengers through its code share arrangement with local carrier, Asian Wings Airways (AWM).
(BGN) has been offering services to Chang Mai in Thailand, as well as local services to Nyaung U-Mandalay, Heho, Kalay, Myitkyina, Kengtung, Bhamo, and Tachileik in Myanmar using its ATR 42-320 and ATR 72-500 aircraft.
October 2015: Air Bagan ((IATA) Code: W9, based at Yangon) (BGN) resumed operations using its own aircraft on October 1. The Myamna domestic carrier suspended flights in mid-August after its then sole active aircraft, ATR 72-500 (592, XY-AIK), was involved in a landing incident at Yangon. While it has not operated its own flights since then, it has remained active through code share flights with partner Asian Wings Airways ((IATA) Code: YJ, based at Yangon) (awm).
Founded in 2004, Air Bagan (BGN) operates flights throughout Myanmar as well as to Chiang Mai in Thailand. Aside from the ATR 72, its fleet also includes 2 ATR 42-300s.
(BGN) currently operates 3 aircraft to 2 countries, 7 destinations, on 14 routes and 4 daily flights.
Click below for photos:
BGN-ATR42-300 - 2015-09.jpg
BGN-F-100 - 2012-12
2 A310-222 (JT9D-7R4E1) (320, /84 XY-AGE; 419, /86 XY-AGD - SEE PHOTO), EX-(CEA), PHOENIX ACFT LSD 2006-10. WITH WINGTIPS. 18C, 210Y.
2 ATR 42-320 (PW121) (152, /89 XY-AID; 159, /89 XY-AIC), 46Y.
1 ATR 42-320 (PW121) (178, /90 XY-AIB), 48Y.
2 ATR 72-212 (PW127) (422, /94 XY-AIA; 458, /95 XY-AIE; 469, /95 XY-AIH, 2008-10), 458; RTND. 70Y.
2 ATR 72-500 (PW127F) (592, /99 XY-AIK; 626, /99 XY-AIS), 66Y.
2 FOKKER F 100 (TAY 650-15) (11282, /89 XY-AGF; 11327, /90 XY-AGC), 12C, 85Y.
Click below for photos:
BGN-1-U HTOO THET HTWE
TAY ZA, FOUNDER & OWNER.
U HTOO THET HTWE, CHAIRMAN & MANAGING DIRECTOR.
Interview July 2013 by Niels Trubbach, ch-aviation:
ch-aviation (ch): Air Bagan (BGN)commenced operations in 2004 as the first fully privately owned airline in Myanmar. What were your main challenges during start-up and within the first years of operation?
U Htoo Thet Htwe (UT): When we started, scarcity of human resources was the biggest challenge we came across. Pilots (FC), engineers (MT), qualified and competent employees. Another difficulty encountered was in selecting and restricting to one airplane type operation.
ca: How would you describe your initial business model and the competitive situation in the domestic market at the time you launched?
UH: Air Bagan (BGN) was established as a full-service carrier, which focuses on safety first and provide exceptional services to our customers. As we aim to develop the tourism and air transport industry in Myanmar, our business model did not solely concentrate on profits initially. For instance, we operated to remote areas in the country to fulfill the transport requirement of our local people.
The competition was not very high in the domestic market at the time (BGN) was launched. Within short periods, most people were aware of and became loyal to our brand. We became the market leader with as much as 31% market share in 2008.
ch: Were there any major problems for you as an airline because of international sanctions, which have fortunately been lifted now?
UH: The payment transaction was the major problem. But we still could manage to overcome other obstacles.
ch: In 2007, (BGN) commenced international operations. Why were all scheduled international destinations except Chiang Mai dropped again?
UH: In 2007, (BGN) operated scheduled flights to Bangkok and Singapore, which are among many other scheduled and chartered flights regionally. We suspended our international operations due to the unfavorable political and economic reasons in 2007. Money transactions were a huge impact on international operations when the economic sanction was imposed on us after the 2007 monk protest. But we are currently successfully operating our flights between Chiang Mai and Yangon.
ch: More and more international carriers are starting flights to Myanmar or are increasing frequencies. Do you have plans to restart more international operations again yourself? What markets would be of interest to you?
UH: Our strategy is to focus on domestic operations, while also considering to be a boutique operator internationally by offering full services and operation to niche markets. We will continue operating between Chiang Mai to Yangon, and we have a plan to launch Chiang Mai - Mandalay operation in the coming season.
ch: Since 2010, when the government made major policy changes, a lot of new carriers have commenced operations. Is this a problem for you and other established carriers, or does the passenger growth cover this leaving enough room for everyone?
UH: According to (BGN)’s internal market research, there was an increase of +48% domestic travelers in the year 2011 - 2012 from the previous year, but only a +5.4% increase in 2012 - 2013. And since 2010, there are a lot of new carriers in the market, along with the addition of their airplane fleets. Hence, passenger growth, though higher now, is still inadequate to be beneficially split among all old and new carriers due to insufficient hotel accommodation and other infrastructures needed to attract more tourists to come into the country.
ch: What were other major changes you could observe in the domestic market following the major governmental policy changes?
UH: All international destinations were through Yangon, so domestic carriers transported all of Myanmar’s international passengers to and from Yangon. Now with opening up of Mandalay to international carriers, domestic carriers lose all their Mandalay/Yangon and Yangon/Mandalay international passengers. However, there are positive changes to our airline industry too. For example, Japan aids our air navigation facilities to improve safety standard. More insurance brokers are coming to the market and the insurance premium rate is going down. In the near future, we expect that we will be enabled to choose fuel suppliers as the government policy has changed to a more open market.
ch: What do you think of the start-up Golden Myanmar Airlines, the first low-cost carrier (LCC) in your country? Will they be successful competing against Myanmar International (BRM) and (LCC)s from other (ASEAN) nations?
UH: Currently, the infrastructure in Myanmar is not “low-cost friendly” or perfect for low cost carriers. For instance, we have high fuel prices, lack of state-of-the-art airport infrastructures, and limited resources, in-house training centers, etc, which are all important factors for successfully operating a low cost model.
ch: Myanmar has currently a high number of domestic and regional carriers, mostly operating with fairly small fleets. Air KBZ and Air Mandalay have now started limited cooperation. Do you have any similar plans and are you considering mergers or acquisitions to get better economies of scale?
UH: We currently have code share flights with Asian Wings for some domestic destinations. And due to the limited resources in the country, it is very important for the domestic carriers to have access to shared resources in order get better economies of scale.
ch: All in all, do you expect that Air Bagan (BGN) will be able to participate in market growth and what do you think makes you better prepared as one of the well-established local players?
UH: We will try to maintain our position as a strong player in the market by strengthening our fleet and most importantly, human resources and systems in the coming years. We are still ahead of many local players in terms of being the only domestic airline in Myanmar using computer reservation systems, e-ticketing and global distribution systems. As we invest a lot in training and professional development of our employees, we are confident and well-prepped for upcoming exciting opportunities.
ch: What is your current customer mix? Do you see more business (C) travelers or more private customers on your flights? Has the number of foreign tourists using your services increased significantly?
UH: It’s a mix of tourist and local. But we can see our share for the tourists market is growing every year. In 2012 - 2013 it’s a ratio of 56:44.
ch: Your fleet of two ATR42-300s, one ATR72-212, one ATR72-500 and one Fokker F 100 is not really young with an average age of approximately 20 years according to our (ch-aviation) data. Are there any concrete plans yet for a replacement and do you expect to place orders for new airplanes or will you continue to prefer used airplanes?
UH: Safety has always been the first priority in our organization. All our airplanes are very well-maintained and being operated according to the rules and regulations. In order to reflect our commitment for safety and uplifting brand image, we are in the process of acquiring some more ATR72-500 airplanes to replace/add into our fleet.
ch: There are plans to build a second airport for Yangon. Do you support these plans or would you be happier with an expansion of the existing airport?
UH: We prefer the expansion of the existing airport. Not only Yangon Airport, but also most of domestic airports must be extended.
ch: Looking to the future, where do you see Air Bagan (BGN) in five years?
UH: Following the recent openings in the country, Air Bagan (BGN) definitely sees a lot of opportunities in the aviation industry. Nevertheless, it is very important to be in a competitive position with the other international airlines and increasing local players in the coming years.
We see ourselves as a very poised boutique airline, whilst keeping our Myanmar Identity in the international community, and maintaining our position as the most networked, reliable and strong domestic airline in Myanmar.
ch: Thank you for the interview!
AUNG SAN, GENERAL MANAGER.