Wisdom Airways eyes Kan Air routes

Wisdom Airways will deploy the Cessna Grand Caravan 208B to inaugurate its service.

A new commuter airline is emerging to fill the void for inter-provincial flights from Chiang Mai left when Kan Air ceased operations.

Wisdom Airways is scheduled to take to the skies on Dec 1 this year with regular flights initially on four routes in the northern region out of its base at Chiang Mai airport.

The new airline is leasing two single-engine Cessna Grand Caravan 208Bs, each with 12 passenger seats, from the US to commence its operation.

In its second year, the airline intends to add a third aircraft with longer range and capacity, the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, to support its growth plan.

Wisdom Airways new routes and choice of aircraft bear a resemblance to Kan Air's. But Wisdom Airways chief executive Picharn Kwangchuchai denied an association with Kan Air, which suspended its operations this April for unannounced reasons.

Capt Picharn told the Bangkok Post Wisdom Airways is a different Thai company, though 10 former Kan Air pilots are part of the flight crew for the new airline.

Wisdom Airways plans to use the air operator certificate (AOC) held by RPS System, a Bangkok-based air service provider, to get its operation off the ground while civil aviation authorities have suspended issuing new permits.

Thai authorities have stopped issuing new AOCs since June 2015 because of complications with the International Civil Aviation Organization's red-flagging of Thailand for aviation safety concerns.

For that technical reason, the airline will be known as "Wisdom Airways operated by RPS System".

Capt Picharn, who himself used to fly for Kan Air, said Wisdom Airways intends to apply for its own AOC next year when the permit granted to RPS System expires and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) is expected to resume issuance of AOCs.

The four initial planned routes and frequencies are Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son (five flights daily); Chiang Mai-Pai (three flights daily); and Chiang Mai-Nan and Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai, each with three flights per week.

The airline's fare structure is on a single net basis. For example, the fare is 1,590 baht for one way on Chiang Mai-Pai, and Mae Hong Son residents can pay 1,200 baht for only two seats on each flight if available.

Capt Picharn said the airline intends to operate directly from Bangkok's Don Mueang airport to Pai with the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, which can carry up to 20 passengers.

The airline, using the tagline "Under Blue Sky", is due to open its online reservation on Nov 1 this year, while also offering charter services.

Its commercial operation is pending approval from CAAT, especially regarding the deployment of the Cessna Grand Caravan 208B.

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