Thailand seeks more flight routes from Laos and China

The Government of Thailand has its sights set on elevating the country’s aviation industry, with plans in the pipeline to request additional flight routes from Laos and China within the next two years. The move is part of a broader “Ignite Thailand” vision, articulated by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, aiming to position Thailand as a hub in eight key sectors, including aviation, by the year 2030.

Government spokesperson Chai Watcharonke recently highlighted a projection by the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (Aerothai) that air traffic between Thailand and the two aforementioned countries could potentially double, provided talks to increase flights are successful.

To support this growth, the Thai government is considering measures to enhance the competitiveness of its domestic aviation industry, irrespective of economic conditions. Increased flight capacity would offer airlines more choices for routes into and out of Thailand, thus creating new economic prospects and bolstering the future of the aviation sector, according to Watcharonke.

The initiation of discussions with Laos and China follows closely on the heels of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s visit to Sri Lanka in early February. The visit culminated in the signing of a bilateral agreement on air transport, customs, and air safety, aimed at uplifting Thai airline standards to meet those set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Consequently, regular flights between Bangkok and Colombo, operated by Thai Airways International, have been reinstated, Watcharonke stated.

“Geographically, Thailand is the central point of the Southeast Asian region.”

Earlier this month, the Thai prime minister disclosed plans for the expansion of existing airports and the construction of new ones. A standout project involves the expansion of Suvarnabhumi International Airport, with plans underway to add new terminals and construct two additional runways. Once completed, the airport’s capacity will be doubled, accommodating up to 150 million passengers annually.

Two new airports are also in the works, one in the north and another in the south. Lanna International Airport will serve as a secondary airport in Chiang Mai and surrounding northern provinces, while the Andaman International Airport in Phang Nga will supplement the long-haul hub in southern Thailand. These new airports will together accommodate an additional 40 million passengers per year, Watcharonke pointed out.

Aviation 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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