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THAI Smile poised for relocation to Don Mueang

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand business news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

THAI’s Smile Air poised for relocation to Don Mueang
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Thai Airways International Plc has prepared its budget Thai Smile Air for take-off from Don Mueang International Airport on August 8 to snatch passengers from low-cost competitors.

The flag carrier will zero in on the high-margin premium market from Japan, China and Europe as part of the first phase of its business rehabilitation plan while aiming to regain customers from official organisations and big companies in the country.

The airline is moving quickly on revising its revamp plan to focus on boosting revenue and cutting costs before submitting it to the Finance Ministry and the National Council of Peace and Order.

Suraphon Isragura Na Ayuthya, acting executive vice president for commercial affairs, said yesterday that after its carrier relocates its subsidiary from Suvarnabhumi to Don Mueang, it will serve Phuket, Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen in the first phase.

Operating costs at Don Mueang are lower so it can offer lower fares.

“We hope to grab passengers from our rivals, particularly AirAsia, which is now based at Don Mueang. We expect passenger numbers will improve by 20 per cent after moving to the new place,” he said.

Until next month, Thai Smile Air is promoting introductory fares of 990 baht for Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen and 1,090 baht for Phuket.

THAI and its other airline Nok Air, which is also based at Don Mueang, will discuss rerouting and further cooperation in order to provide a comfortable network and most effective services.

THAI expects to move all Thai Smile Air operations to Don Mueang by next winter.

The airline plans to resume talks with government units and major corporate customers for new deals to increase revenue from the domestic market.

It will promise them higher service standards and greater satisfaction and increase use of online reservations to reach out to more individual flyers and widen its base.

Online bookings are expected to triple from 11 per cent of reservations today to 30 per cent by year-end.

On the international side, THAI will concentrate only on markets where it can draw premium passengers such as Japan, southern China, Scandinavia and Russia.

“We are now looking at it on a country-by-country basis so we can go straight to the right target. Premium passengers are our target now,” he said.

Top management has vowed to make their carrier a Super Premium Airline with a more comprehensive range of exclusive services starting this winter season for routes to Japan and Europe.

“Our premium fare is already the most expensive among airlines in and out of Thailand, but we believe customers can afford it if they receive better service,” he said.

The airline plans to add routes to existing markets such as Dusseldorf in Germany and seek opportunities to add other destinations into its network such as Japan and southern China.

The nonstop Bangkok-New York flight that was withdrawn is under reconsideration, but may need a stopover somewhere.

More marketing would be done in the low season by offering attractive promotions to fill otherwise empty seats, he added.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Business

Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January

Maya Taylor

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Vietjet

Passenger numbers on domestic flights within Thailand have doubled within a month, rising from 4,000 in January to over 10,000 this month. Having nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel plummeted once more when Covid-19 resurfaced late last year.

Apirat Chaiwongnoi from the Department of Airports says 15 of Thailand’s 29 airports are now operating domestic flights, with more expected to follow. He believes the aviation sector will continue to recover further in the coming 6 months, bolstered by the national vaccine rollout.

Around 120 domestic flights a day are now operating, which is twice the number that were operating at the lowest point in the crisis. Prior to the resurgence of the virus in December, domestic passenger numbers had recovered to 30,000 – 40,000 a day, around 80% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The DoA says airports must continue to adhere to the Covid-19 hygiene measures put in place by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15

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Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Kom Chad Luek

Samut Sakhon’s Central Shrimp Market, the epicentre of Thailand’s recent wave of Covid-19, will remain closed until February 15. The market can reopen once the overall hygiene situation at the market and surrounding area has improved, according to the province’s disease control committee.

Local officials say the shrimp market needs to remain closed until the market structure and nearby residential facilities are inspected. People who violate the order face up to a year in prison and a fine up to 100,000 baht.

More than 12,000 people in the province have tested positive for Covid-19. The increasing number of infections is a result from the active case finding to contain the spread of the virus.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | Thairath Online

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