Thai Airways is scrapping its Bangkok-Samui flights from September this year.
The airline has flown Bangkok to Samui International Airport, return, twice a day in a Boeing 737 carrying up to 149 passengers after negotiating a contract with Bangkok Airways in 2008.
The private airport on Koh Samui was built by Bangkok Airways in 1989 and has been managed by that airline ever since.
When THAI began flying the route, the national airline said it would be convenient for travellers flying through Bangkok on Thai Airways to transfer to a TG flight to the island through the one airline.
It was also considered a breakthrough at the time, ending a monopoly for the Bangkok-Samui flights sector. Bangkok Airways dominates the route, offering around 19 flights daily each way. Thai Airways feels it is justified in cancelling the service this September following the signing of a codeshare agreement with Bangkok Airways last year.
The airline can ticket its European or Asian passengers through to Samui on any of the daily Bangkok Airways flights at agreed fares that are competitive for TG to resell.
The resulting monopoly for Bangkok Airways means that flights could cost up to more than double that of routes of a similar distance around the region.
Samui Island’s airport was developed as the country’s first privately owned airport but has faced constant criticism from hoteliers on the island who claimed Bangkok Airways made it difficult for competitors to serve the island.
At one point the government threatened to build a second airport on the island but land appropriation costs were too high. However, the tactic did result in THAI gaining landing rights for two flights per day.
According to Airlineroute’s timetable information, Thai Airways will on September 2 end its TG281 service departing Bangkok at 7.45am, and TG287 departing Bangkok at 3.30pm.