Airports of Thailand Plc (Aot) has finally agreed to grant Nok Air and Orient Thai Airlines similar incentives extended to airlines which moved their bases to Don Mueang airport after the 2011 floods.
AoT general manager Paranee Vatanotai confirmed the AoT board recently agreed that the discounts on various fees, including landing and parking charges and space rentals, should also be given to the two airlines operating at Don Mueang before the floods.
The two carriers were previously not eligible for the incentives which AoT designed essentially to attract 14 international airlines to shift their bases to Don Mueang from Suvarnabhumi airport to reduce congestion at Thailand's air hub.
In addition, the incentive package formed part of an overall state policy change, made early in 2012, which officially turned Don Mueang into Bangkok's second air hub.
Back then, AoT had reasoned that since the two budget airlines, along with three small charter operators, had not been based at Suvarnabhumi airport from the outset, but had only moved there late in 2011 from Don Mueang during the flood crisis, they would not be given incentives to return.
AoT's agreement to extend the incentives to Nok Air and Orient Thai came more than six months after five airlines complained what they claimed as discrimination of the state-controlled airport operator.
AoT had earlier tried to avoid directly address the issue, saying "other forms of privilege" would be extended to the old Don Mueang operators instead.
Those privileges have never been announced.
But whether other charter airlines that operated through Don Mueang before the flood, like Mjets, will get the incentives is still being considered by AoT.
"It is up to ongoing legal interpretation about their (charter operators) eligibility," Ms Paranee noted.
Mjets executive chairman Jaiyavat Navaraj insisted that his company should not be excluded from the incentives to ensure a level playing field.
The incentive package comes in three stages from August 2012 to September 2015, with parking and landing fees reduced by 95% in the initial stage and 10% in the last timeframe.
About the author
- Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana
Position: Deputy Editor Business