Thai AirAsia plans Phuket air links

Thai AirAsia plans Phuket air links

Thai AirAsia CEO, Tassapon Bijleveld, unveiled the airline's expansion plans that include new flights from Phuket to Bali and Hong Kong, during the Asean Hotel & Restaurant Association Seminar, held last week,  in Bangkok.

According to Mr Tassapon, the airline will take delivery of three more Airbus A320s, later this year, and will base one of the aircraft in Phuket to serve new routes, Phuket - Bali and Phuket - Hong Kong.

"Tourists will not have to transit in Bangkok allowing them to fly non-stop to Bali and Hong Kong," said Mr Tassapon.

Thai Air AsiaThe airline believes there are enough Australians visiting Phuket, who would like to travel  to Bali and there are direct services from Japan and China to Bali, two markets that could supply traffic to Phuket.

Currently, the airline offers daily flights between Bangkok and Bali that started last January.

Mr Tassapon said the airline plans to build Phuket as a secondary hub, and expects to base three to four aircraft there in the future.

Parking and landing fees are much lower in Phuket, when compared with Bangkok.

Ultimately, the airline wants to link Phuket with Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Siem Reap in Cambodia, Vientiane in Laos as well as Indonesia cities such as Surabaya; Medan; and Jakarta.

According to Mr Tassapon, by the end of the year the airline will have 18 aircraft. Two of the three aircraft, due to arrive in the last quarter, will be deployed to offer a second daily service, Bangkok - Hong Kong, as well as a new Bangkok - Taipei service. The third aircraft due in December will be used to launch a service to Mumbai, Thai AirAsia's first destination in India, and also a Bangkok - Hangzhou service in China.

In 2010, the airline will take delivery of eight new aircraft, of which six will replace older aircraft, due to be phased out.