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AirAsia’s “Phuket Air Hub’ ready for takeoff



PATONG, PHUKET: Thai AirAsia has geared up for the establishment of Phuket as a new regional air hub next month with its “AirAsia Loves Phuket Fair”, which ends at Jungceylon today.

Thai AirAsia CEO Tassapon Bijileveld visited the fair yesterday, presenting a model AirAsia aircraft to Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop as part of the festivities.

November 15 has been designated as the official launch of the ‘Phuket air hub’ project, which is hoped will lift the annual number of tourists to Phuket above the six-million mark for the first time.

“In addition to our daily flights to Singapore, Thai AirAsia’s Phuket hub will operate direct flights to Hong Kong, Jakarta and many other destinations soon,” Mr Tassapon said.

There has also been a strong response to the low-cost carrier’s launch of direct flights on its newly-announced Phuket-Hong Kong route, Mr Tassapon said.

AirAsia offered passengers booking online 20,000 deeply discounted seats on the route starting on October 5.

“Passengers have been paying a lot of attention and giving us good feedback,” he said.

Special discounts were also offered at the fair, located at Jungceylon’s Silang Boulevard.

As part of the Phuket air hub project, two Airbus A320 aircraft with 180-seat capacities will be permanently stationed at Phuket International Airport.

The first will arrive in time for the November 15 launch and the second will arrive in December, he said.

About 200 additional ground staff will also be added to support operations, he said.

Thai AirAsia Phuket station manager Arun Lilapantisitti said the first aircraft will service Hong Kong and Jakarta routes, while the second will service Medan in Indonesia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

Flight crews will initially be stationed in Phuket on two-week revolving schedules, but could be permanently stationed in Phuket in the future, he said.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan


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