Milan-based NEOS Airline officially launched its Yangon-Milan direct charter flight yesterday, with a chartered Boeing 767-300 ERW on Mondays and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner every Wednesday.
The Boeing flight arrived at the Yangon International Airport yesterday at 3 pm, after departing from Phu Quoc, Viet Nam, as part of its Viet Nam-Yangon-Milan route.
A welcoming ceremony was held for the flight, in which Union Ministers U Thant Sin Maung and U Ohn Maung and officials welcomed 35 passengers at the airport.
At the ceremony, the union ministers, Ambassador of Italy to Myanmar Ms. Alessandra Schiavo, Managing Director of the Yangon Aerodrone Co Ltd U Tun Myint Naing and officials of the Neos Airline delivered speeches.
Also present at the ceremony were Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein, Yangon Mayor U Maung Maung Soe and officials.
Through the arrangement of Orchestra Travel and Tours Co Ltd, the 35 passengers arriving on this flight were from Milan, and the flight stopped over in Phu Quoc, Viet Nam before landing at Yangon International Airport, said Dr. Aung Myat Kyaw, Managing-Director of Orchestra Travel Co.
The direct maiden flight carries 250 passengers, and the plan to carry over 300 passengers will be used for the flight at the end of December, said Dr. Aung Myat Kyaw.
An Italian couple, who were among the 35 passengers, expressed their delight at their first visit to Myanmar, saying that they will visit Mandalay, Bagan, Inlay and Kyeikhtiyoe during this trip.
Myanmar has relaxed restrictions on visas and granting visa exemptions to travelers from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Macao, as well as travelers from neighbouring China, who come to Myanmar by air.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and related ministries, partner organizations and travel companies are also making efforts for attracting tourists from Europe.
“Thanks to direct flights, European countries can understand the true situation in Myanmar. We need to do strong advertising to attract flights,” said U Thet Lwin Toe, Chairman of the Myanmar Travellers’ Association.
He also suggested making arrangement for flights to land in the regions which possessed unspoiled beaches to attract foreign travelers.
U Myint Htay, Chairman of the Airport Management Committee, added, “Now, with the launch of the direct flight, we can travel to Europe by direct flight and it takes 12 hours. We no longer need to transit at airports in other countries.”
There were direct flights between Myanmar and Europe beginning in about 1950, though the flights stopped after 1962.
About ten years ago, there was a flight on the Viet Nam-Australia-Yangon-Thailand, said U Thet Lwin Toe.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the number of travellers from Italy to Myanmar for the period of up to September last year reached 11,976, though the number declined by 14.6 per cent to 10,221 visitors.
Thi Thi Min, Zaw Gyi