Hat Yai has managed to attract an additional foreign carrier, Firefly, as it is still attempting to woo airlines from Indonesia and China to make the Thai southern city their port of call.
Firefly, a full-service point-to-point carrier under Malaysia Airlines, started descending to Hat Yai last Friday with four flights a week from Subang airport in Kuala Lumpur.
It serves the Kuala Lumpur-Hat Yai route with the 72-seat ATR 72-500 turboprop, said Group Capt Noranit Pholkanond, the general manager of Hat Yai airport.
Firefly becomes the third international airline to operate scheduled flights to Hat Yai, joining two budget carriers _ Singapore's Tiger Airways and Malaysia's AirAsia _ both of which use single-aisle A320 jets for the services.
Tiger Airways offers eight flights a week from Singapore to Hat Yai, while AirAsia operates a daily flight between Hat Yai and Kuala Lumpur airport at Sepang.
Firefly is entitled to incentives including reduced parking and landing fees rendered by Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) to attract carriers to Hat Yai.
Mr Noranit said Hat Yai provincial authorities and industries are urging Indonesian and Chinese carriers to connect Hat Yai with Indonesia and China.
Firefly will spend the next three months testing the market response to its Hat Yai-Kuala Lumpur route to see how to proceed from there.
Hat Yai airport can only handle 30 flights an hour.
About the author
- Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana
Position: Deputy Editor Business