Nok Air resumes Bangkok-Betong route, partners with allies to fill charter flights
If at first you don’t succeed, try again — with a few more friends. That’s the message from Thailand budget airline Nok Air, which is teaming up with a handful of tourism industry partners in a renewed bid to provide charter flights from Bangkok to the recently opened Betong airport in Yala province in the south. Beginning on April 29, you’ll be able to book a flight as part of a tourism package from the capital to Thailand’s southernmost province.
Not Air signed the agreement to offer the flights with three companies last Friday — Thai Tourism Promotion Assicoaition, CCT Group and Tangmo Tour Company — with support from the Betong airport, the Betong municipality, local businesses and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, who all want to see the flights renewed and domestic tourism increase in the region.
The charter flight promotion will be offered from the end of April to the end of July. Some 60 seats per flight will be set aside for the tour companies, while the airline will be responsible for selling the rest of the seats directly to passengers. To promote their new flights, the partnering companies have launched marketing campaigns for travel packages, such as a 3 day, 2 night deal for 9,900 baht.
Round-trip tickets from Bangkok to Betong currently cost 7,000 baht, according to the Bangkok Post. That’s 2,000 baht more than the Betong Tourism Association has earlier asked the airline to set the price at, in order for them to guarantee 60 percent flight capacity. And it’s still about a thousand baht more expensive than the roughly 6,000 baht fare the airline reportedly agreed to with local tour operators. Now the airline is reportedly considering the TAT’s suggestion for it to cover a thousand baht’s worth of the ticket price in order fill more seats.
When there’s no direct flights between the capital and Betong, travelling there by another route isn’t necessarily less expensive, and it certainly takes more time. Travellers from Bangkok would have to fly to neighbouring city of Hat Yai in Songkhla province, where they can then catch a minivan, taxi or private vehicle the rest of the way. It’s about a 4.5 hour drive nonstop over 260 kilometres, according to Google Maps.
Last month, Nok Air launched its flight services from Don Mueang airport to Betong airport with PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and other government officials on March 14. That day, PM Prayut officially declared the airport open for business. But the next day, Nok Air cancelled all three of its weekly flights from Bangkok. The budget airline blamed high operating costs and insufficient marketing time, which resulted in a lack of bookings. As a result, the Bangkok-Betong route was left in limbo without regularly-scheduled flights.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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