Narinjara News




Sittwe, 20
th June 03:  The regular ticket for the Sittwe to Rangoon air trip costs kyat 18,500.  But in Sittwe, the western town of Burma, the same ticket would cost a passenger up to kyat 30,000, quoting a passenger our correspondent writes.

In each of the twice-daily flights to Rangoon there are ten ‘specially reserved’ seats for the Burmese Army and other defence forces, which again is controlled by the Military Intelligence 10.  According to a source in the Burmese airways, if the MI agents find the ten ‘always reserved’ seats filled by the defence personnel, they force the ticket sellers and manager of the airways to offer them five or more seats for selling them in the black-market.   

For the general passengers the plane tickets have become so difficult to get that they always need to obtain recommendation from the military and intelligence officials.  For the majority of the passengers one option is left: travel by bus across the Roma Ranges or travel by ship to Rangoon.

For the government employees the price of the ticket to Rangoon is kyat 11,000, which is a price subsidized by the Burmese regime.  But it may take weeks to obtain one such ticket if the traveller is not close to the military top brass.  The monthly salary of a government service holder is merely 5,000 kyats, it was learnt.  In the black market one US dollar sells at kyat 1,250.

For the Muslim businessmen, the ticket may cost even more, from kyat 200,000 to kyat 300,000 depending upon the bribes the businessmen have to pay to the military intelligence for clearances, since there is a travel ban and compulsory clearance from the law enforcement agencies for the travels of the Muslims. 

The black-market tickets can be easily bought at the airport right before the departure, said a businessman in the town. 

In 1988 the fare for a plane trip to Rangoon from Sittwe was only kyat 172. #