NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Commercial flights will resume at Nakhon Ratchasima airport in August after years of suspension because of low demand for seats.
Provincial authorities and Nok Air executives announced on Wednesday that Nok Air would operate two return flights a week to Chiang Mai from Aug 2.
Nok Air chief executive officer Wutthiphum Jurangkool said the two services would test the market.
The airline would use an 86-seat Q400 NextGen turboprop aircraft on the Nakhon Ratchasima-Chiang Mai route, with flights on Saturdays and Tuesdays and the fare at 2,100 baht.
He said eight airlines had previously terminated services at Nakhon Ratchasima airport because actual traffic volume was only 70-80 people a flight.
If demand rises, Nok Air would operate Boeing 737-800 aircraft with 189 seats on the route and increase the frequency to three flights per week, and later possibly to seven flights, Mr Wutthiphum said.
Nakhon Ratchasima governor Wichian Chantharanothai said officials had made a study to determine actual demand and would be promoting the service, especially for the coming high season in Chiang Mai.
The 2-billion-baht Nakhon Ratchasima airport is in Chalerm Phrakiat district, about 30 kilometres east of the city centre.
Opened in 1997, the airport has four aircraft bays, an aircraft parking area, a 2.1-kilometre runway and a 5,500-square-metre passenger terminal, which can handle up to 300 passengers per hour.
In its early years of operation, commercial airlines including Thai Airways, Air Andaman and Kan Airlines operated out of the airport, but all discontinued flights because they were not profitable.