BANGKOK: Phuket Air is to axe direct flights between Bangkok and London, citing the impending low season, and will be replacing the route with a new service between Bangkok and Amsterdam.
The airline’s marketing and communications manager, Krona Visutrasai, told the Gazette the London flights had been “suspended temporarily”, and that the company intends to reintroduce the route, but with a “better service”, later.
K. Krona said it was not unusual for airlines to review and alter services according to fluctuations in demand, and that Phuket Air’s services to Phuket, Ranong and Krabi were continuing as usual.
She added that Thai Airways International (THAI) was reducing its Bangkok-London flights, and that the cancellation of the Phuket Air service should make it easier for THAI to fill its planes during the low season. “This would be more beneficial to the Thai airline business as a whole,” she commented.
K. Krona conceded that Phuket Air has suffered because of the tsunami, but she said it was too early to say how the company would react to the diesel price hike.
She added that, in addition to the Bangkok-Amsterdam service, Phuket Air is introducing a direct service between Bangkok and Denpasar, Bali.
Phuket Air is currently facing serious image difficulties following an incident during a refueling stop at Sharjah, in the UAE, on Sunday. Passengers aboard a Phuket Air Boeing 747 en route to London forced the takeoff to be aborted after allegedly seeing fuel pouring from a wing tank.
The airline has denied that there was anything wrong with the first aircraft, blaming passengers for “panicking”.
Many UK newspapers and media sources quoted Gordon MacFarland, Phuket Air’s UK sales manager, as saying that the fuel flowing from the wing had been caused by overfilling of the fuel tanks during the stop, and was not dangerous.
“Are passengers really qualified to know what’s going on? These passengers had come from a tsunami-hit area and were probably nervous,” he was quoted as saying. Many of the passengers had been in Phuket.
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