Thailand-China flights surge 213% after visa exemption deal

Picture courtesy of Ruben Sukatendel, Unsplash

Flights between Thailand and China have surged to 55,000 in the past eight months, following the signing of a mutual visa exemption agreement, according to the Ministry of Transport.

Deputy Transport Minister Surapong Piyachote reported that the 55,433 flights from October last year to May marked a 213% increase compared to the same period the previous year. He projected that 86,150 flights would operate between the two nations by the end of the fiscal year on September 30.

Currently, flights from China land at Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Samui, and Krabi airports. Economic hubs like Chengdu in Sichuan province have seen significant growth in air traffic. Over the past eight months, 5,896 flights were recorded to and from Chengdu, with expectations of this number reaching 8,850 by the end of the year.

Surapong noted that Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (Aerothai) has been asked to expand its capacity to manage the increased flight volumes. Aerothai is enhancing air traffic service efficiency through new parallel routes, upgraded technology systems, and improved airspace structure and management guidelines.

Plans include a new air traffic management system and the installation of systems to improve capacity and efficiency through air traffic flow management (ATFM) practices. The goal is to handle about two million flights by 2038, focusing on personnel training, route adjustments, airspace design, and establishing off-site backup air traffic management, reported Bangkok Post.

Nopasit Chakpitak, president of Aerothai, revealed that the company has initiated a project to develop U-tapao Airport and the Eastern Aviation City under its initial phase. This phase primarily targets air cargo transport from the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), particularly flights from China, and aims to position the airport as a future aircraft maintenance hub. This development is expected to foster growth in the tourism, logistics, and aviation sectors.

Business NewsChina NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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