Connect with us

Thai Life

Up in the Air: Phuket-Hat Yai: truly boutique flights

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Bangkok Airways daily flights connecting Southern Thailand’s two busiest airports – Phuket (HKT) and Hat Yai International – are currently experiencing average load factors ranging from 60 to 70 per cent, with the overwhelming majority of passengers being Thai nationals, an airline executive has revealed.

Pannaphorn Preechachan, Bangkok Airways chief of regional corporate communications for Southern Thailand, said the current load factor was rising as public awareness of the flights has been increasing since the service was introduced in October 2015.

“There’s growing awareness that our new service is available on this route, and many people have even requested additional flights be added in the afternoon or evening,” she said.

“About 98 per cent of the passengers are Thai nationals, with foreign tourists making up the other two per cent,” she said.

The trend is perhaps not surprising given the huge numbers of Thais from other southern Thai provinces who work, or have business interests, in Phuket.

The failure to tap into the huge foreign tourist market in the Thai lower south seems to be a problem endemic to many Thai domestic carriers, however.

Last year, a Nok Air vice president said that they were behind rival Thai AirAsia in the Phuket market due to their failure to tap into the huge numbers of foreign tourists transiting through Phuket, which make up more than half of all travellers disembarking at the airport.

Ms Pannaphorn said that the Phuket – Hat Yai service has been promoted in both markets through billboards, radio advertising, magazine advertisements and special promotions at selected local events.

However, a look at Bangkok Airway’s Facebook and Twitter pages reveals that the carrier’s social media content is geared almost exclusively to the domestic market.

The slogans may be in English, but the body copy that actually explains what is on offer is almost invariably in Thai language only.

In Songkhla Town and Hat Yai City, for example, hundreds if not thousands of tuk-tuks bear ads introducing the all-inclusive, one-way 1,490 baht flights, but these go unnoticed by the vast majority of tourists who are unable to read Thai.

Songkhla province, where Hat Yai is located, is a major tourist destination for visiting Malaysian tourists, including its large population of ethnic Chinese.

Unbeknownst to many, Malaysia is Thailand’s second largest tourist source market, after mainland China. Many of these visitors arrive by tour bus to visit destinations in Songkhla. However, the vast majority of Malaysian tourists remain unaware that a flight service to Phuket is available.

The Phuket to Hat Yai service would also draw the interest of the many thousands of expat residents of Phuket who need to do ‘visa runs’ or conduct business trips to neighboring Malaysia.

On the topic of expanding flight services in the south of Thailand, Ms Pannaphorn said that Bangkok Airways had no immediate plans to expand services to Narathiwat International Airport or any other international airports in the region.

— Stephen Fein

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

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

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Video1 hour ago

Green line extension price issues, Hua Hin Peeping Toms | Good Morning Thailand | Ep.148

Thailand1 hour ago

BBC plans to reproduce Thailand’s hit TV show “Block Out” for British television

Thailand1 hour ago

Thailand Top Stories | PM says ‘no added restrictions’, Chiang Mai ‘cardigan girl | Dec 8

advertiseadvertise
Crime2 hours ago

Wounded man flees to police station, says employer beat him, forced him to drink urine

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Bars warned it takes proper accreditation to be a restaurant

Bangkok3 hours ago

470 million baht “soapy” massage venue and business up for sale in Bangkok

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Pollution3 hours ago

Authorities warn of “unhealthy” levels of air pollution in Bangkok, elsewhere this week

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Malaysia and China to collaborate in developing Covid-19 vaccine

World3 hours ago

Jetstar Asia to operate vaccinated travel lane between Bangkok and Singapore

World3 hours ago

Top US scientist says Omicron “almost certainly” no more severe than Delta

Phuket4 hours ago

More and more digital nomads choose Phuket for a “workation”

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Thai PM says another national lockdown “unlikely” despite Omicron variant

Coronavirus World4 hours ago

Omicron unlikely to be more severe or to fully evade vaccines: WHO

Thailand19 hours ago

17 people in close contact with Omicron-infected traveller test negative

Thailand19 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Omicron under control, Illegal border crossing, Thailand’s recovery | Dec 7

Thailand3 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand9 months ago

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

Tourism9 months ago

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

Phuket9 months ago

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

Tourism10 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand10 months ago

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

Tourism10 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Trending