Manipur’s capital city Imphal to connect with Mandalay in Myanmar from November 23 Credit: Representational image

Imphal: In a first, Manipur is all set to get air connectivity with neighbouring Myanmar by from November 23 onwards. The international flight, which is scheduled to commence on the eve of the seven day-long Manipur Sangai Festival, the biggest tourism festival of the state, will connect Imphal to Mandalay, according to reports.

As per reports, the announcement of the ambitious project was made by chief minister N Biren Singh on Thursday while launching an online ticketing portal for the flight service in Imphal.

The flight, which will be operated by Air KBZ, a privately-owned domestic airline based in Yangon Myanmar, will run its services on Wednesday and Saturday of every week from Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in Imphal. Ticket prices will start from Rs 14,000, reports said.

Singh also took to Twitter to announce the development. “Happy to launch the E-Booking Services of the Imphal-Mandalay-Imphal flight to be operated by Air KBZ under the Department of Transport, Government of Manipur,” he tweeted.

According to officials, with the commencement of the international flight, Manipur will come closer in connecting with the other parts of the Southeast Asia under the Act East Policy.

“The commencement of the flight will take the state closer to the goal of making it the major hub for travel to South-East Asian countries,” Manipur transport director Mercina R Panmei said while addressing the launch event.

On July 3 this year, Air KBZ had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Imphal-based tour and travel firm KB Enterprises to operate the Imphal-Mandalay flight services.

As per reports, Mandalay International Airport has potential to connect with 11 domestic and 19 international destinations in total and this could serve as a major transit hub for onward travel to other Southeast Asian countries.

Imphal Airport, being the second international airport after Guwahati and the third busiest in the Northeast region, has seen a rise of domestic passenger traffic through Mandalay by 20% since 2010, while growth in International flights has been up to 60% annually, said reports.

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