Japan's ANA to buy stake in Burmese carrier

Passengers walking over an ANA logo in Tokyo airport ANA has been keen to expand its operations in emerging markets in the region

Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) has said it will acquire a 49% stake in Asian Wings Airways (AWA), an airline based in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

The Japanese airline will pay 2.5bn yen ($25m; £16m) for the stake.

It is the first time a foreign carrier has invested in a Myanmar-based commercial airline.

Firms have been keen to enter Myanmar, seen as a key growth market, after political reforms led to the lifting of international sanctions.

The Japanese airline resumed flights between the two countries in October last year after a 12-year hiatus.

"ANA intends to capture an increasing share of the fast-growing Asian airline market and this investment in AWA will support that strategic goal," the airline was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

"As part of the investment, ANA will also work with AWA to improve its operational and on-time performance and support its expansion into markets outside Myanmar."

Yangon-based AWA was launched in 2011 and currently operates domestic flights to all major tourist destinations in Myanmar.

According to the company's website, it plans to "extend its wings to regional destinations through scheduled flights as well as chartered ones".

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