Hotelier Patrick Fiat will no longer have to travel an entire day from Singapore to Chiangmai to visit his daughter, who is a resident of Thailand.
THAI Airways’ announcement last Friday that it would move a total of 23 domestic flights from Don Muang Airport to Suvarnabhumi Airport will be make it easier for him to transit.
Says Fiat: “SilkAir has a direct flight to Chiangmai, but they don’t fly everyday. And when I don’t take them, this means I have to pass by Bangkok to catch my connection. With the traffic, it takes a long time.”
THAI’s international and domestic operations were originally both operating out of Suvarnabhumi International Airport when it opened in September 2006, but congestion prompted the carrier to shift a portion of its domestic operations about six months later to Don Muang. The return exercise is to be completed by March 29.
As THAI is a founding member of the Star Alliance Network, working out of a single base is expected to streamline linking procedures to other Star Alliance carriers servicing Bangkok. Connecting times between domestic and international flights have been put at between one and two hours less than previously.
Acting THAI president Narongsak Sangapong said the development would help the airline cut costs by over 600 million (US$16.9 million) baht annually and increase passenger volume by about 5 percent since the international traffic would find it more convenient to catch local and regional flights at Suvarnabhumi. “A single-airport operation makes it easy for the country to be an airport hub of the region. It benefits THAI and the nation,” he said.
To manage the spike in the number of passengers, the airline will add more check-in counters for all classes and extend its lounge areas at Concourse A by 300sqm. Customers will also have access to a larger range of improved facilities, including, high-speed train services between Suvarnabhumi and Bangkok city center, scheduled to operate in August 2009. The system is currently undergoing testing. Once the new high-speed train starts to operate, traveling time will be approximately 15 minutes between airport and city, saving considerable time off the journey, which 25km in distance by road.
Nok Air, a THAI subsidiary and some charter operations, will remain at Don Muang.
For more details, visit www.thaiairways.com
Margie T Logarta