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MAI flights cancelled at short notice

Jul 23, 2008 (DVB), Passengers waiting to fly to Burma from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport today were furious when Myanmar Airways International made a last-minute announcement that flights had been suspended.

A crowd of angry customers complained about the airline's poor handling of the situation in failing to inform passengers in advance and arrange for substitute flights.

"We were told the flights have been cancelled today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and now we are stuck at the airport," said a passenger.

"They haven't arranged any substitute flights for us and I’m not sure if they will tomorrow so I’m just going to take a Thai Airways flight home."

An air ticket agent in Bangkok said the suspension of MAI flights could be due to Thailand’s One-Two-Go airline grounding its planes.

"The aircraft used by MAI were leased from One-Two-Go and now they have nothing to fly with as One-Two-Go had decided to suspend their flights," he said.

"This [suspension of services] is going to last until they find substitute planes."

An official at the MAI headquarters in Rangoon said the airline had only suspended flights to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur and the disruption would last for about two days.

"We are only cancelling our flights for two days as an MD82 type aircraft we rented from another company is facing some insurance issues," said the official.

"We were using that plane for flights between Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur but we have different aircraft for our Singapore flights which are still running."

MAI operates regular flights running between Burma, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Thailand’s budget One-Two-Go Airlines announced last week it would ground all 16 of its aircraft from yesterday until 15 September because of financial difficulties due to rising oil prices.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw


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