Hong Kong's Dragonair to launch Yangon route

Hong Kong's Dragonair said Friday it would launch four-times weekly flights to Yangon from January next year, as tourists flock to Myanmar following the end of nearly half a century of military rule.

The direct flight between the southern Chinese city and Yangon, Myanmar's largest city and former capital, will commence on January 9 next year amid growing international interest in the once-isolated country.

"We see tremendous potential in this market with both tourism and commercial activities rapidly gaining momentum," Dragonair chief executive Patrick Yeung said.

"We look forward to carrying more passengers between Hong Kong and Myanmar and helping to promote ties between the two places."

Dragonair, a budget sister airline of Hong Kong's flag carrier Cathay Pacific, will operate the route with the Airbus A321 aircraft.

Singapore Airlines said in September it would start a new daily service to Yangon later this month to meet growing business and tourist demand.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has seen a number of dramatic changes since last year such as the release of hundreds of political prisoners and the election of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament.

Myanmar officials said in July that the authorities are planning a new airport near Yangon, expected to become operational in 2016, due to the influx of visitors.

Arrivals at Yangon International Airport are expected to surge to around 3 million in 2012, a 22 percent increase from 2011, according to the country's Department of Civil Aviation.

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