THAI to add services for high season
- 12 Sep 2017 at 06:57
- WRITER: SUCHAT SRITAMA
Thai Airways International Plc (THAI) is set to increase frequencies on its existing popular routes or add new destinations in East Asia and Europe to cope with the expected increase in tourists during the coming high season.
Chaiyong Ratanapaisalsuk, vice-president of the network and fleet management department, said more flights or new direct services will be introduced mainly to China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Vienna during the winter season, starting October.
"China is becoming more important for THAI. We plan to operate a direct flight from China to Phuket in October to cope with the high season," Mr Chaiyong said.
"The airline is also considering increasing flights from other major cities in East Asia," he added.
THAI is resuming its regular service to Vienna in November after a 24-year hiatus.
The flag carrier will offer four flights a week from Bangkok to the Austrian capital, plying a Boeing 777-200ER jet starting Nov 16.
Against the backdrop of the International Civil Aviation Organization's red flag, which is still in effect, Bangkok-Vienna is the only long-haul new route launched by THAI since 2015.
The red flag, imposed for Thailand's aviation safety shortcomings, means Thai-registered airlines are not allowed to open new routes, raise existing flight frequencies to foreign countries or change aircraft types already deployed on foreign routes.
But the European Aviation Safety Agency has no such reservations about THAI, enabling the airline to commence flights to Vienna while maintaining its current services to 12 cities across 10 countries in Europe.
THAI flies more than 80 flights per week to Copenhagen, Oslo, Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Stockholm, London, Rome, Milan and Moscow.
Mr Chaiyong said THAI is scheduled to receive its 100th aircraft this month and five more are slated for 2018. It plans to discharge five old planes next year.
The company also said it is committed to improving aircraft utilisation from 12.3 hours to 13 hours per aircraft per day.
Usanee Sangsingkeo, acting president and executive vice-president of the commercial department, said European market's potential has been growing steadily.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has reported that six million tourists travelled from Europe to Thailand last year, an increase of 6.8% from 2015. Tourists from Eastern Europe and Austria ranked fifth among the European arrivals.
In the first six months of this year, approximately 3.4 million Europeans travelled to Thailand, an increase of 7% compared with the same period last year, with East Europeans and Austrians remaining the fifth-largest group.
Mrs Usanee said: "The opening of flights to Vienna will enable Thai Airways to serve passengers from East European countries within a 300-kilometre radius as well.
"These countries are Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia, with a combined population of approximately 32 million people."
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