Airline business booms in Phuket

Thai Airlines Airplane prepare randing to Phuket International Airport


Following the plan by public and private agencies to enlarge Phuket International Airport, Thailand’s second largest airport after Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi, for passenger comfort and improved facilities, the airline business is showing every sign of going well, especially when a number of air carriers are moving forward with their proactive marketing strategies for the upcoming tourism season of the Andaman coastline.

Thai AirAsia, the Thai subsidiary of Malaysia-based low-cost carrier AirAsia, has designated Phuket as its second hub linking the new routes flying from and to the province, while it has launched additional charter flights servicing PhuketHong Kong, PhuketSingapore, and PhuketIndonesia’s Medan routes.

“We selected Phuket as another hub, as it is where (there is liveliness) even when the economy’s down, the number of tourists has almost never dropped. Also, it’s the destination through which most of our flights operate,” said Thai AirAsia chief executive, Tassapon Bijleveld. “We picked this location as a hub and we’re certain that there are many people in the region who want to fly directly to Phuket.”

Thai Airways International (THAI) is another carrier recently introducing a PhuketHong Kong route.

“Flights flying to Phuket are expected to mainly generate revenues to the company. As you know, tourists flock here because of the province’s potential. And if we operate a direct PhuketHong Kong route, passengers will definitely be assured of their convenience,” said Chantouch Srinilta, THAI’s district sales manager for Phuket.

Apart from the two carriers, ‘Happy Air’, a local small airline, debuted with an introduction of short routes as continuations from Phuket to Hat Yai and Malaysia’s Langkawi. The routes are to enable tourists to travel to nearby tourist destination in short journeys or a one-day trip.

“We’re also planning to fly a PhuketMedan route, as Medan is as well a tourism city in Indonesia. We’ll also be expanding (with) new destinations in several years if the market here goes well and if the feedback’s good.” said Patcharapol Sontipan, sales and marketing manager of Happy Air Travellers. “Our airline hopes to be Thailand’s top carrier for tourism within the next five years”.

The bright prospect of domestic airline business expansion may not only buck the trend of the current economic downturn, but it also reflects the potential of the tourism and travel industry in this Andaman coastal resort island which may help prop up the country’s economy in the future. (TNA)