THE recovery of both the aviation and tourism industries this year has led to a big jump in international chartered flights with the four-month total reaching 924 while action has been taken to reduce domestic airfares, Matichon newspaper said this morning (Apr. 12).
Mr. Sutthipong Kongpool, director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), said of the 924 chartered flights reaching Thailand from the beginning of this year, 253 arrived in January, 288 February, 165 in March and 218 due in April.
These chartered flights came from 23 countries among which are Australia, Bhutan, Bulgaria, Cambodia. China, Taiwan, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
Although the number of chartered flights arriving this month has increased considerably, the total has not reached the peak with there being 32 such flights during April 11-17 Songkran holidays mainly from China, South Korea and Myanmar.
However Sutthipong is optimistic that the chartered flight market will expand steadily throughout this year especially when more Chinese tourists start coming here. Chinese people tend to either travel during the Chinese New Year or during summer with a big increase expected in June.
CAAT is also moving to resolve the problem of high domestic airfares with the fastest way to do so being allowing airlines to import more airplanes and increase the number of flights to meet the steeper demand.
An additional 21 airplanes are being brought in this year with Thai Airways importing four, Nok Air four, Thai AirAsia five, Thai Lion Air five among others.
Moreover 20 airplanes are being repaired and will return to service this year taking the total additional aircraft to 41.
This will lead to domestic airfares decreasing in the third quarter of this year but it is uncertain how big the drop will be.
Top: A Thai Airways jetliner. Photo: Matichon
Front Page: Flight back to Phuket. Photo: Phuket@photographer.net (CC BY 2.0)