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THAI Phuket flights operating as usual

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PHUKET: Thai Airways International (THAI) is still operating its full schedule of regular flights between Bangkok and Phuket – for now.

An officer from the ‘Enterprise Communication Department’ of THAI, asking not to be named, told the Phuket Gazette, “I have yet to receive any news about reductions in flights to Phuket.”

Her statement was in response to a report by Thai-language business daily Krungthep Turakij (KT) recently that said THAI had cut more than 500 domestic and international flights due to the decreased number of passengers resulting from the country’s flood crisis.

The report stated that affected routes included flights between Bangkok and Phuket, Haad Yai, Surat Thani, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, London, Paris, Zurich, Rome, Munich, Frankfurt, Moscow, Athens, Johannesburg, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Beijing, Shiang Hai, Guangzhao, Taipei, Dubai, Colombo and Mumbai.

“Perhaps Krungthep Turakij had an exclusive interview with someone, who gave them that information, but as far as I know, our current status still remains the same,” she said.

“As long as there is no official letter from management, I would confirm that all of our flights [to and from Phuket] are still operating as usual until we receive further notice,” she added.

According to the KT report, in addition to reducing the number of flights, THAI will also downsize the type of aircraft used on the routes to better suit the number of passengers, with consideration made on a day-by-day basis.

However, in a statement issued on October 30 on THAI’s Public Relations website, the airline said it will increase its seating capacity for flights to Phuket, Haad Yai and Krabi, in order to accommodate Bangkok flood evacuees fleeing to Southern Thailand.

THAI reported 4.8 billion baht in losses during the first nine months of the year, attributing the losses to foreign-currency exchange depreciation and a 41.5% increase in the cost of jet fuel compared with the same period last year.

However, during the third quarter, THAI achieved a profit of 2.4 billion baht, an increase of 10% year-on-year.

Speaking to the press, THAI President Dr Piyasvasti Amranand insisted popular destinations Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai were all unaffected by the floods.

He encouraged travelers to visit these destinations, which could be “conveniently reached” via Bangkok’s still fully operational Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

The THAI president admitted that travel advisories warning against travel to Thailand had cut the number of tourists coming from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and some parts of Europe.

THAI’s passenger load dropped to 65.8% last month from 74% in the same month last year, he said.

Mr Piyasvasti said the Thai government must clarify and create understanding that the flooding situation has improved, and urge the countries to lift travel warnings.

“If we can do it fast, we still have hope that our tourism industry will return to normal by December,” he said.

 

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