Officials woo foreign airlines to open up more Thai routes

Tourism March 30, 2018 01:00

By The Nation

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AVIATION officials are confident of attracting more foreign airlines to the Thai market.



Darun Saengchai, director-general of the Department of Aviation, said that several airlines have expressed an interest to open routes from their home countries to Thailand as a result of discussions with 18 partners at the Routes Asia 2018 event in Australia from March 18-20.

Given high growth in the Asean region, Australia’s low-cost Jetstar Airways will study routes from Perth to Surat Thani and from Perth to Krabi with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

“Jetstar has shown interested to fly to the Andaman coast along Krabi province. We also offer the Gulf of Thailand in Surat Thani province. The airline has been very interested in these options and has asked to study tourism information about the eastern seaboard,” Darun said.

Malaysia’s Malindo Air will open a new route from Kota Bharu to Surat Thani in June with ATR 75 aircraft. Now, the airline is in the process of requesting for a licence from the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).

Malindo Air has been asked to consider to resuming a Penang-Krabi route, which it used to serve in 2014-2015. The increasing numbers of tourists in the area make this route more appealing now.

Thai AirAsia X has been eyeing a direct flight from Krabi to Incheon in South Korea. The airline has been asked to open a Hua Hin-Chiang Mai route to connect its Kuala Lumpur-Hua Hin route, which will begin service on May 18.

Thai VietJet Air plans to open a Bangkok-Krabi route on April 5 and has been asked to study a Chiang Rai-Phuket route due to passengers’ strong response.

Laos’ national airline is keen to use Khon Kaen Airport as its base and is in discussions with the airline’s partner in the province for joint investment and airline registration in Thailand.

TAC Co Ltd is interested to rent an area in Khon Kaen Airport to establish a school to train pilots due to the high demand for pilots, while airports in Roi Et and Phitsanulok have been contacted for this purpose.

Darun said that the department also held discussions with foreign airports, such as Vietnam’s Vandong Airport, for information exchange and marketing promotion activities.

In fiscal 2017, the department logged 140,423 commercial flights, with 18,265,830 passengers.