The Airlines Association of Thailand (AAT) has agreed to Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit's suggestion to reopen unused flight slots to expand commercial air traffic at airports.
The association also supports the government's push for an airport to be built in Phangnga, according to AAT president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth.
Mr Puttipong, also president of Bangkok Airways, said AAT would ask to see Mr Suriya to discuss a recovery plan for the tourism and airline industries.
The association represents Thailand-based carriers -- Thai VietJet Air, Thai AirAsia, Thai AirAsia X, Bangkok Airways, Thai Lion Air, and Nok Air.
The discussion will help set a direction for the recovery of the aviation industry and contribute to sustainable progress in the tourism sector, he said. The government hopes to restore the aviation and tourism industries.
Mr Puttipong said the association backs Mr Suriya's call on Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang to surrender unused flight slots held by the Royal Thai Air Force at airports under AoT management.
The slots need to be freed up to increase the number of commercial flights served by the airports by 100-150 per day, he said.
"The slots must be allocated in line with the demand. Commercial airlines need [the slots held by the RTAF], especially with the high season fast approaching," he said.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand determines slot allocation based on each airport's handling capacity.
Mr Puttipong said most airports run tight traffic slots during the morning rush hour and in the evening.
"It would be helpful if more flight slots could be reclaimed and redistributed during peak air traffic hours," he said.
Regarding Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin's idea for a new airport in Phangnga, Mr Puttipong said AAT will also raise the subject with Mr Suriya. The premier also said some airports need sprucing up.
As president of Bangkok Airways, Mr Puttipong said his airline is keen on investing in the Phangnga airport project. The airline owns and operates three airports in Koh Samui, Trat, and Sukhothai.
Citing a study, the area in Takua Thung district's tambon Kok Kloi would be a suitable location for the airport, said Mr Puttipong.
The Airports of Thailand and the Department of Airports had also expressed interest in investing in the airport in Phangnga, he said.