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"Program Charter Flights" by Myanmar Airlines Int'l to Connect Ibaraki and Yangon within the Year

Myanmar Airways International airplanes at Yangon International Airport, Myanmar

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Direct flights connecting Ibaraki Airport, north of Tokyo, with Yangon International Airport in Myanmar will commence within the year.

The Ibaraki Prefectural Government reached a basic agreement with Myanmar Airways International (MAI; IATA code: 8M) on August 19 to allow the start of three weekly "program charter flights." Service on the new route will begin within the year.

MAI, Myanmar's national carrier, said its decision to fly to Ibaraki Airport north of Tokyo was heavily influenced by the difficulties posed by congestion at nearby Haneda and Narita airports as well as the support received from Ibaraki Prefecture. At the signing ceremony, Ibaraki Governor Masaru Hashimoto said, "A lot of growth is anticipated in Myanmar in the future. We hope the maiden flight will fly at the earliest possible time and that the new route will make a major contribution to Myanmar's growth.

Program charter flights are commercial charter flights that can operate round-trip with restrictions such as a limited schedule and route network. Treated as "quasi-regular flights," many are later upgraded to "regular flights" once they meet various conditions.

Excluding the now defunct route to Seoul once flown by South Korean carrier Asiana Airlines, Ibaraki Airport's new international route will be its second following Chinese carrier Spring Airlines' service to Shanghai. It will also be the only option for flying between Japan and Myanmar other than the regular commercial flights connecting Narita International Airport outside Tokyo with Yangon International flown by All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. (ANA).

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