TWO FOREIGN airlines are looking to start operations at Don Mueang International Airport with a view of capturing the expected recovery of Thai tourism this year after the prolonged political crisis.
Wing Commander Songsak Tongtang, general manager at Don Mueang, one of six international airports owned and managed by Airports of Thailand (AOT), said an airline based in Maldives planned to begin operating between that island nation and Don Mueang this month. It will operate two daily flights.
He said Japan’s Peach was also planning to spread its wings from Japan to Don Mueang. The airline is in talks with the Thai aviation authority as well as conducting a feasibility study, he added.
Several other airlines are also eyeing Bangkok’s two airports for future services.
“With the end of the crisis, more airlines will seek to extend their operations to Don Mueang. It will bring in more passenger and tourists this year,” Songsak said.
Currently, 14 airlines operate at Don Mueang, dominated by low-cost carriers such as Thai AirAsia, Thai AirAsia X, THAI Smile and Nok Air. Several foreign carriers are also based there, including Tiger Airways.
Songsak said renovation of the Terminal 2 tower at Don Mueang was scheduled for completion in August and would reopen in the third quarter. Once the Bt2-billion refurbishment is completed, the airport’s capacity is expected to increase from 21 million passenger per year to 30 million, or a rise of 40 per cent from last year.
AOT and Kansai International Airport yesterday signed a cooperation agreement on tourism news and information exchange.
Under the pact, AOT will display Japan’s tourism destinations and attractions to Thais at Don Mueang, Phuket and Chiang Mai airports, while Kansai International Airport in Japan’s Osaka prefecture will promote attractions in Thailand to Japanese passengers.
Tadashi Shimura, managing director and executive officer of Kansai International Airport, said the cooperation would attract more Thai tourists to Japan, which has already become the most popular destination among Thais since the waiving of entry-visa requirements.