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Airlines scramble to slash ticket prices

Airlines scramble to slash ticket prices

BANGKOK: The unease caused by COVID-19 is expected to drag down Thai tourism for more than six months, triggering airlines to slash ticket prices to steer the market, while Nok Air and Nokscoot cut pilots and cabin crew to save costs.

tourismtransporteconomicshealthCoronavirusCOVID-19
By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 25 February 2020, 08:58AM


No passengers are seen at check-in counters of Thai AirAsia at 4pm on Thursday at Don Mueang airport as the coronavirus outbreak affects air travel. Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya / Bangkok Post

No passengers are seen at check-in counters of Thai AirAsia at 4pm on Thursday at Don Mueang airport as the coronavirus outbreak affects air travel. Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya / Bangkok Post

Thai Airways International (THAI) is partnering with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to offer discounts such as free domestic tickets to international tourists. Low-cost carriers plan to focus on local tourists opting for domestic travel as there is a limited number of outbound choices free from the virus.

Thai AirAsia is providing B100 discounts for any domestic routes within a designated period, while Nok Air is offering one-way ticket prices for domestic routes starting from B680 this month. Vietjet Air has marked down all routes across Thailand by 50%.

As the outbreak spreads to more countries, Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) believes the impact will last longer than six months, and the losses will be larger than the TAT’s projection of B250 billion, said Chairat Trirattanajarasporn, president of TCT.

“Operators are ready to comply with stimulus plans from the authorities to secure at least 36 million international tourists this year. But the government has to think and act faster than this, or most businesses will collapse because of the impact," said Mr Chairat.

The THAI-TAT collaboration – Amazing Flight, Amazing Thailand – will be launched in March at ITB Berlin 2020, one of the biggest trade shows in Europe, for travel during May to October, said Tanes Petsuwan, deputy governor of marketing communications at TAT.

Under the six-month campaign, THAI will offer 10,000 tickets to Thailand to international tourists with at least a 20% discount, plus a round-trip ticket for a domestic route operated by THAI or THAI Smile Airways.

CMI - Thailand

“We’ll start with 10,000 tickets. If the feedback is good TAT will talk with THAI about increasing the number of sale tickets,” said Mr Tanes.

This project has a budget of around B30 million , shared equally by the two parties. It expects to stimulate tourist spending of around B500mn.

NokScoot airline issued a statement that 11 pilots and 36 cabin crew were told to leave the company, while Nok Air axed four pilots. The airlines want to save on operation cost amid a severe economic situation and the virus outbreak. Nok Air has tried many attempts to control costs.

 

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CaptainJack69 | 25 February 2020 - 13:47:36

Yeah but think about it, no one's going to China, Hong Kong Singapore and now Vietnam or even Malaysia (apparently all "hi risk" areas) which will steer a greater share of the market our way. Yes the overall market will be reduced but still..

Sir Burr | 25 February 2020 - 10:14:01

If people have decided not to fly due to the perceived dangers of COVID-19, do they honestly think people will change their minds for a few hundred Baht? The triumph of hope over reality.

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