Facility opened in Myanmar to handle private jets

Economy August 06, 2014 01:00

By The Nation

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The Myanmar MJets Business Aviation Centre (MMBAC) was unveiled at Yangon International Airport yesterday to take advantage of the rising demand for chartered flights and private jets in the country.

The centre will not only fill a gap but elevate Myanmar’s aviation industry into the next chapter of development and modernisation, said Ohn Myint, founder and chief executive of Wah Wah, a family-run enterprise that has a 50-per-cent stake in the business.
“There have been many wealthy and discerning aircraft owners requesting VIP treatment at Myanmar airports, which I could not provide because facilities like those that MMBAC has built simply did not exist,” Ohn Myint said. “Customers can have chartered flights and ambulance services at MMBAC. Currently, the chartered flights usually fly to Bangkok and Singapore”.
Oh Myint said Myanmar would be welcoming more private jets, mostly via Yangon, thanks to the country’s reopening. The country is attracting growing numbers of top officials from governments and foreign missions, corporate executives, billionaires, celebrities and even honeymoon couples who travel on private jets.
“When I entered the ground-handling business for private jets in Myanmar 16 years ago, there was only one aircraft a year, rising to five in the second year and 15 in the third year. This year we will have 300 flights,” Ohn Myint said.
Wah Wah’s partner in the venture is Thailand’s MJets, which is owned by Minor International founder William Heinecke and Kirit Shah, 
the entrepreneur behind Precious Shipping. The joint venture has won support from Myanma Airways, the national carrier of Myanmar, and that country’s Department of Civil Aviation.
MJets owns and operates a fleet of Gulfstream GVs and Cessna Citation CJ3s and Citation Xs, as well as a Cessna Citation Bravo with an optional medical configuration. Moreover, MJets is currently managing six executive jets for customers, a Gulfstream G650, two Gulfstream G550s, two Gulfstream G200s and another Cessna Citation Bravo.
MJets executive chairman Jaiyavat Navaraj said the company would introduce services similar to those now available at Don Mueang International Airport. He expects private jet flights passing through Myanmar, especially Yangon, to double to 600 in the third year of MMBAC’s operation.
Ohn Myint estimated that about 10 per cent of the total traffic at the centre would be for air ambulances – mostly patients from Myanmar seeking medical treatment in neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Singapore. At present, such flights for medical treatment are chartered about once a week. 
The new centre also has customs and immigration counters and offers one-stop services for visitors with private jets.