Roi Et, the Thai northeastern province known for Thung Kula Rong Hai agricultural plains, is getting a major boost in air connectivity.
Ready to descend on Roi Et: TAA's A320-200 at Bangkok's Don Mueang airport.
No-frills carrier Thai AirAsia (TAA) plans to start scheduled flights from its Bangkok's Don Mueang airport base to the province some time in January.
TAA will join budget airline Nok Air which has been almost solely operating to the state-run Roi Et airport, code-named ROI, from Bangkok since 2011.
Though TAA has yet to officially announce the launch date and number of frequency, ROI director Yuthana Intharajinda told the Bangkok Post yesterday it could begin with a daily service using A320-200 jet in January.
TAA has seemed to cautiously opt for a daily flight rather than starting off with double daily services as encouraged by ROI in order to allow time for passenger traffic to grow, he added.
TAA's planned Bangkok-Roi Et service will overshadow that of Nok Air in terms of aircraft capacity and seating numbers.
While Nok Air uses the ATR 72 turboprop, with 66 seats, for its twice-daily services between Don Mueang and Roi Et, TAA's larger and faster A320 jet can carry 180 passengers.
An industry source said it is possible that TAA could kick off the Roi Et services with two flights a day right away given additional aircraft capacity being available.
The low-cost carrier is due to take delivery of two A320s, its 41st and 42nd, in January next year.
TAA has planned to announce details of the launch of Roi Et services along with a few other new domestic routes on Nov 24, according to the source.
Roi Et is among the secondary domestic routes which TAA has started to focus on as it has virtually covered all the trunk routes.
Mr Yuthana said the descent of TAA on Roi Et will be a boon to passengers as it offers a choice and spurs competition both in terms of price and services.
The arrival of TAA would help promoting Roi Et's tourism industry as the province geared itself toward launching the Visit Roi Et campaign next year.
About 60,000 passengers passed through ROI last year and the TAA's start-up could boost the throughput to as many as 100,000 in 2015.