Thai Airways is testing the waters (so to speak) by introducing a limited number of direct flights from Europe to Phuket, ahead of the southern island’s July 1 re-opening. The national carrier, currently in the throes of restructuring after teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, has started selling direct flights from 4 European cities to Phuket. According to a Bangkok Post report, the flights are initially aimed at hundreds of tour agents, who will be invited to take test trips during the third quarter.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand is working with Thai Airways on a number of direct flights from Paris, Frankfurt, London, and Copenhagen. The flights will operate in a triangular pattern, flying directly into Phuket, but stopping at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi on the return leg. It’s understood each route will have 1 returning flight per week. Thai Airways is also planning direct flights to Phuket from Seoul and Taipei, with flights from Tokyo yet to be confirmed.
Siripakorn Cheawsamoot from the TAT says initially, demand is expected to be light, as a result of travel restrictions both here and abroad. With Thailand’s emergency decree extended until July 31, the Phuket flights will be classed as semi-commercial and passengers will still need to get a Certificate of Entry before travelling.
In addition, some countries are placing restrictions on their people travelling to Thailand, in light of the third wave of infections in the Kingdom. The country is on the UK’s amber list, meaning any one returning to the UK from Thailand needs to self-quarantine at home for 10 days. Siripakorn admits that such restrictions will discourage some from travelling to Phuket, even with the island waiving quarantine for vaccinated arrivals.
He adds that once the Covid situation improves in the Kingdom, the number of arrivals will pick up, pointing out that places like Phuket and Samui have the advantage of limited entry points, meaning health screening can be carried out more efficiently.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post