Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand urges airlines to increase flights

Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand urges airlines to increase flights

Suvarnabhumi airport is packed with travellers ahead of the busy Songkran holidays in April last year. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Suvarnabhumi airport is packed with travellers ahead of the busy Songkran holidays in April last year. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) is in discussion with all six airlines in Thailand to increase the number of flights during holidays and lower the flight price ceiling in a bid to address excessive fares.

Transport Minister Suriya Juangruangreangkit said on Wednesday the CAAT on Tuesday met the six domestic flight providers in Thailand: Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air, Nok Air and Thai Vietjet.

At the meeting, the six airlines were required to explain the situation regarding overly expensive flights, especially during the high season.

According to Mr Suriya, the CAAT said it came up with short-term and long-term measures to solve the problem of high flight fares. They may be deterring some tourist visits.

The short-term measure will require airlines to increase the number of flights during holiday seasons to cut down the prices and provide passengers with more options, he said.

The six airlines will have to cooperate with Airports of Thailand (AoT), the Department of Airports (DoA), Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Ltd (Aerothai) and tourism authorities to take such action, said Mr Suriya.

The airlines will have their next meeting with the CAAT on Feb 28, he said.

As for the long-term measure, the CAAT is looking to lower the flight price ceiling, citing a change in passengers' travel habits and the need to reduce burdens for citizens.

The measure will be proposed to the Civil Aviation Commission (CAC) for approval and will be imposed with the interests of the passengers and airlines in mind. It is unclear when the changes might take effect.

The developments came after Wednesday's remarks by Saritpong Kiewkong, a Bhumjaithai MP for Krabi, who mentioned the problem of unreasonably high airfares for flights arriving into the southern provinces next to the Andaman Sea, such as Krabi and Koh Phangan.

He said the expensive fares are preventing southerners from returning to their homes and also preventing tourists from visiting those provinces, which is in conflict with the government's policy to boost the economy.

He also emphasised the need for airlines to increase the number of flights to bring down prices, especially during this time when many foreign visitors are travelling to Thailand.

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