The Government of Myanmar has approved plans to seek out a "strategic investor" for cash-strapped Myanmar National Airlines (UB, Yangon) and has formed an independent board at the airline, The Myanmar Times has reported.

Transport and Communications Minister U Thant Zin Maung said during a parliamentary hearing that the government had also appointed a consultant to advise on carrier's privatisation, without disclosing its identity.

The flag carrier has been bleeding cash at a rate of USD5 million per month since late March, when the government suspended all international flights to and from Myanmar. Services will not restart before September. It currently operates a limited domestic network, using mostly Avions de Transport Régional turboprops and E190s, but without international feed these sectors are loss-making. In June, the airline requested a USD24 million bailout from the government.

The Myanma government has indicated that it would seek to "commercialise, corporatise, or privatise" more state-owned enterprises in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Myanmar National Airlines, which is wholly-owned by the state, currently operates one ATR72-500, ten ATR72-600s, four B737-800s, and two ERJ 190-100LRs. The Boeing narrowbodies are only active on a limited number of repatriation charters.