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IAT Mongolian Airlines has been
developing in recent years, with a fleet
renewal programme and increased
MIAT — an abbreviation of four Mongolian words
translated as Mongolian Civil Air Transportation –
is a fully state-owned company employing almost
600 personnel and operating under national carrier
status. Currently, the Ulaanbaatar-based airline flies
to Moscow, Berlin, Frankfurt, Beijing, Hong-Kong,
Tokyo, and Seoul and seasonally to Osaka and
Erlian in China.
MIAT is North Asia’s smallest flag carrier, operating
a fleet of just five aircraft.
In February 2013, the Mongolian Parliament
enacted a policy document on the local aviation
industry under which MIAT developed a fleet renewal
plan with the aim of replacing 70-80% of its aircraft.
That year, MIAT took delivery of a Boeing 767-
300ER purchased from the manufacturer through a
loan from the Ex-Im Bank under a 10-year repayment
plan, followed by a new Boeing 737-800 on an
operational lease last year. In total, the airline has
three 737-800s, one 767-300 and a 767-300ER.
The airline was due to take delivery of two 737s
this year, but due to financial constraints delayed
delivery until 2018 and 2019, with two new 737
MAX models due to be delivered. MIAT is seeking
funding from the government for further fleet renewal
and expansion, with ambitions for 100% fleet renewal
and even future growth with the 787 Dreamliner.
MIAT is partnering with Korean Air, All Nippon
Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Eva Air, China
Airlines, Dragon Air, Hainan Airlines from Asia and Air
Berlin from Europe on its international services and is
in discussions with ANA on codesharing.
MIAT’s collaboration with other carriers has been
made easier by its three-star rating by the UK’s
Skytrax in January 2013, with the airline now aiming
to obtain four stars. The rating helps MIAT expand
partnerships and make agreements with other
The airline’s international ambitions have been
altered by increased competition, however. Its
European operations have not expanded for the
last two years since Turkish airlines entered the
Mongolian market, capturing passengers from
MIAT and Aeroflot. Under the inter-governmental
agreement of Turkey and Mongolia, Turkish Airlines
has the rights to fly to Mongolia three times weekly
and MIAT has a similar right to fly to Turkey. MIAT is
considering implementing the rights, having bilateral
discussions with Turkish Airlines, while the latter has
been proposing to increase flight frequency to five
per week and put a larger aircraft on the route.
Meanwhile, Asiana of South Korea has been
considering entering the Mongolian market for some
time, while Austrian Airlines has expressed an interest
to fly to Ulaanbaatar’s new international airport. Since
2014, Air Astana has been in discussions with the
Mongolian authorities to launch a flight to Ulaanbaatar.
MIAT also faces competition from Mongolia’s second
international carrier, Hunnu Air, which operates on
the Hong Kong–Ulaanbaatar route, also served by
MIAT. Hunnu, which also operates domestically
in the country, which MIAT doesn’t, has its own
international expansion ambitions.
MIAT itself is looking at further international route
opportunities, including flights to the United States
via Frankfurt or Japan. Other potential routes it is
considering include London, Bangkok and New
Delhi. Mongolia’s geographical position gives it an
advantage that enables MIAT to become a bridge to
transport Russians to South East Asia and Chinese
to Russia and Europe.
Visa-free travel is key to any new route launches,
the airline says. Mongolia is striving to increase the
number of business and leisure travellers to the
country, with the government in 2014 approving a list
of 42 countries, mostly European Union members,
to enter Mongolia without a visa for a period of 30
days. The government is considering increasing this
number to 60 when construction of Ulaanbaatar’s
new international airport is completed in 2017.
In May 2015, MIAT wet-leased its 189-seat 737-
800 to Czech Republic airline company Travel
Service. Under the contract, 22 MIAT staff including
pilots, engineers, cabin crew and flight coordinating
officers worked for the Czech company, operating to
12 countries in Europe, as well as South Africa, on
more than 33 routes.
The airline says the arrangement proved
successful, not only providing a source of revenue
for MIAT, but also highlighting the fact that its staff
work to international aviation standards. The Czech
deal followed an earlier arrangement in Bangladesh
in 2013. MIAT says it is now looking at further wet-
MIAT is also developing its in-house engineering
and technical capabilities, ensuring it is providing
high-quality services at an international level.
Recently, MIAT undertook a C-check heavy
maintenance on two 737-700/800s of Easter Jet
of South Korea. MIAT says the work was of a high
quality and undertaken in a short time period. Similar
services have been undertaken on Thai-registered
aircraft. In 2015, MIAT has completed repair and
maintenance services on 10 aircraft. ✈
MIAT Mongolian Airlines is transforming its fleet and looking at expansion opportunities.
Mainbayar Badarch reports.
MIAT on the rise
The 767-300ER was MIAT’s first direct purchase from Boeing.
8/02/2016 12:07:54 PM
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