Connect with us

Thai Life

Up in the air: Lucky Air launches Phuket service

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Good news for Phuket’s tourism industry came with the July 16 launch of thrice-weekly services between Kunming and Phuket by Lucky Air, China’s fastest growing airline.

Lucky Air, with its hub at Kunming Changshui International Airport (KMG), is 40 per cent owned by parent company Hainan Airlines Group. In operation since 2006, it has demonstrated phenomenal growth in recent years with an expansion of services inside China, where it provides services at 12 domestic airports.

Lucky Air’s growth has hardly been limited to its operations out of KMG, China’s seventh busiest airport through which over 33 million passengers transited last year.

Lucky Air launched its first international route from Guiyang, China, to Singapore early last year.
Its first routes to Thailand followed shortly thereafter with the launch of a thrice-weekly service from Kunming to Samui Island, making it the first Chinese carrier to offer a service to Surat Thani’s premier resort island.

The next step was the introduction in early February of midnight flights from Kunming to Krabi International Airport, putting it in direct competition with China Eastern Airlines, which also uses KMG as a hub.

The Phuket flights will operate three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. This route is also served by China Eastern Airlines, which likewise operates a service three times a week.

The flight takes off from KMG at 8:35am, covering a distance of about 2,000 kilometers in about three hours and lands in Phuket at 10:35am, local time. The return flight leaves Phuket at 11:40am and lands at 3:40pm. (Kunming is one hour ahead of Thai time.)

In addition to serving mainland Chinese tourists wanting to visit Phuket, the flights will make it easier for many ethnic Han Chinese in Phuket to visit Kunming.

To facilitate foreign air passengers wishing to transit through Kunming and see some of the local attractions, Kunming Airport authorities offer most foreign visitors with third-country visas a ‘transit without visa’ option, lasting 72 hours from the time of arrival.

This option is open to foreigners from 51 countries with clearly detailed departure information from KMG within the 72-hour time frame, which cannot be extended.

However, it cannot be used by people with round-trip flights and those using this option can only travel inside the administrative region of Kunming City.

Also important to note is that Thailand is not listed among the countries which qualify for the ‘transit without visa’ option.

However, the option might prove useful to Phuket’s legions of ‘visa runners,’ as Thailand has a consulate in Kunming City with a one-day turnaround time for most non-immigrant visa applications. There is also a Lao consulate there for those wishing to continue their travels in that country.

But Lucky Air appears to have a long way to go to tap into the Thai and expat markets.

For a start, the carrier’s website ( is in Chinese language only, and the airline has yet to establish much of a presence in popular online English-language booking sites. However, similar flights on rival airways, such as AirAsia, start at about 15,500 baht round trip, but they have very long stopovers – as long as nine hours – in Bangkok.

— Stephen Fein


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 mins ago

Covid-19 cluster found at children’s home outside Bangkok

Best of14 mins ago

Top 5 Floating Markets in Bangkok

Phuket57 mins ago

Phuket officials in last-minute scramble to fix sandbox hiccups

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Tourism10 hours ago

TAT claims 1,500 travellers arriving in Phuket July 1

Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 hours ago

5 million Moderna vaccines for Thailand, half of expectation

Coronavirus (Covid-19)15 hours ago

Covid-19 round-up for expats 3: Are countries helping Thailand?

Coronavirus (Covid-19)15 hours ago

Covid-19 round-up for expats 2: Will your country give a vaccine?

Coronavirus (Covid-19)15 hours ago

Covid-19 round-up for expats 1: Should you travel to Thailand?

Thailand16 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Lockdown for BKK? Demonstrations back on, Pathum Thani shooter arrested

Thailand16 hours ago

Myth busted: Drinking alcohol does not kill Covid-19 – VIDEO

Phuket17 hours ago

Power outages coming to Kathu, again

Tourism17 hours ago

List of countries by Covid-19 risk level, classified by Thailand’s DDC

Thailand17 hours ago

Legalised marijuana up next? Courts get closer to legalising kratom

Phuket18 hours ago

Phuket police raids nab suspects for allegedly having guns, drugs, kratom

World19 hours ago

Antivirus legend John McAfee apparent suicide in Spanish prison

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8