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China increases Phuket flights amid demand

PHUKET: Three more air companies have added Phuket to their lists of destinations since last Friday (Mar 10) and one more is expected to follow suit nearer to the end of the month. All the carriers are Chinese and include both full-service and low-cost airlines.

By The Phuket News

Friday 17 March 2023, 02:19PM

New flights from the Mainland China to Phuket have been confirmed in a series of publications by AOT Ground Aviation Services (AOTGA), an Airports of Thailand (AOT) and SAL Group joint venture, providing ground handling services at Phuket International Airport and other airports operated by AOT. 

The flights had been previously announced by AOT itself when the company posted Phuket Airport’s flight schedule for March. They include:

West Airlines, a Chinese low-cost carrier based in China’s New North Zone, started flying from Chongqing from Mar 10. The company currently provides four Phuket flights per week using A320 airliners. Starting from Mar 26 daily fights will be available. 

Nine Air (9 Air), a budget carrier operating from Guangzhou in Central China, sent its first Boeing 737-800 from Guiyang to Phuket on Mar 14. Three flights per week are available currently. 

Shenzhen Airlines resumed flights to Phuket from Shenzhen on Mar 15. Three flights per week are provided using A320 airliners. 

According to Phuket International Airport’s schedule posted by AOT, from Mar 26 flights from Kunming to Phuket will be resumed by Kunming Airlines. The company will immediately provide daily flights.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) hosted a roadshow in China in late February to lure more Chineses travellers. Speaking at the event, TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said that even though average airfares had decreased since last year, prices for March and April for every Chinese city are still higher than before the pandemic.

At the same time, the average spending per Chinese traveller increased as the more expensive travel costs prompted them to consider longer stays of five to 10 days, according to Dragon Trail research.

Mr Yuthasak said the structure of post-pandemic Chinese travel will see individual trips dominate the market, outpacing mass tour groups, which have yet to resume.

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