PHUKET: Regional low-cost carrier Lion Air has launched services to several new destinations in Thailand, with its Thai subsidiary Thai Lion Air, aiming to establish Hat Yai Airport (HDY) as a second hub in Thailand.
Executive Managing Director of Thai Lion Air, Andi Burhan, said that the carrier’s decision to use a 72-seat ATR 72-600 prop plane, the first ATR to join Thai Lion Air’s fleet, would allow it to develop routes between niche markets and develop a more comprehensive domestic network.
Unfortunately, none of the announced new routes involve Phuket (HKT). Additionally, it is still impossible to get a chartered flight between the two largest airports in Southern Thailand: HKT and HDY.
The new domestic routes are a five-times weekly service to Hua Hin and a three-times weekly service to Surat Thani, both of which began on March 21. The flights are the first scheduled non-stop service from Haad Yai to both cities.
Regionally, Thai Lion Air also launched a twice-weekly service from Hat Yai to Medan, Indonesia and Subang Kuala, Lampur over the past two months.
“We chose Hat Yai to be our second hub because it is a gateway into Southern Thailand and we know that many people want to travel to Southern Thailand for business and leisure. There are a lot of popular holiday destinations in Southern Thailand,” said Mr Burhan.
“We will also be encouraging Thais to explore neighboring countries, namely Indonesia and Malaysia,” he added.
— Somchai Huasaikul
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