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One-Two-Go grounded until October

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One-Two-Go grounded until October | Thaiger

PHUKET: Controversial low-cost carrier One-Two-Go will remain grounded until at least October, but its owner is certain the airline will eventually resume services.

Udom Tantiprasongchai, founder and chairman of One-Two-Go, told the Gazette this week he was confident the airline will resume its Phuket service.

“We have done everything we have to do. It is now up to us to decide when we resume flying,” he said.

Mr Udom admitted that the resumption of services would “honestly not happen this month” and would come in October at the earliest.

One-Two-Go initially grounded its fleet of eight McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jet aircraft citing financial conditions and the need to restructure.

It was subsequently grounded by the Thailand Department Of Civil Aviation (DCA) for allegedly breaching safety regulations, having a lack of proper airline management and for falsification of documents by some pilots who had misrepresented their credentials.

The government suspension, to August 21, was subsequently extended by the DCA to September 20.

One-Two-Go’s self-imposed termination of services had been set to conclude next Monday, but neither deadline will be met, Mr Udom said.

Recent political unrest, including the two-day closure of Phuket International Airport (PIA) by anti-government protesters, and a subsequent drop in demand were among the reasons the airline is not yet ready to resume flights to Phuket, he said.

Mr Udom said he had received many emails urging the airline to resume flying.

Another obstacle to restarting service was that some staff had left for other jobs, he said.

However, Mr Udom pledged to “come back again, stronger and with better quality.”

Meanwhile, inquiries with Nok Air to confirm it is continuing with its weekend Phuket-Bangkok flights were unsuccessful, though staff at the carrier’s booking table recently told Gazette staff that no weekend flights were available. Many Nok Air staff, including some in Phuket, lost their jobs when the airline ceased local operations.

Nok Air initially suspended all flights to Phuket but, subsequently, starting on August 9, resumed Saturday and Sunday flights.

Phuket therefore continues to suffer from a lack of airline capacity with only Thai Airways International, Thai AirAsia and Bangkok Airways serving the island from other domestic bases.

Report by Gazette aviation columnist Alastair Carthew.

 

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