Aerothai president Noppasit Chakpitak said yesterday (Jan 20) that Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has instructed all related agencies to ensure they are prepared to handle the influx of Chinese tourists during the Chinese New Year period between Jan 19 and 25.
There are expected to be 240 flights, or 34 per day on average, reports the Bangkok Post. Of the total, 75 flights will land at Suvarnabhumi Airport, 52 at Don Mueang Airport, 78 at Phuket Airport and 35 at Chiang Mai Airport.
The number of flights from China for this month is expected to reach 1,160, which is lower than the pre-pandemic level in January 2019 of 12,209.
However, in light of China’s reopening, the number of flights from the country is expected to rapidly rise to 36,896 this year, an increase of 227.6% from 2022, Mr Noppasit said.
Given the increase, Aerothai has stepped up air traffic management measures by participating in flight slot allocation committees to ensure airports’ capacities can accommodate flight volumes efficiently, as well as issue air traffic management guidelines.
Earlier, Kittipong Kittikachorn, director of Suvarnabhumi airport, said some 1.81 million visitors, 1.36mn of whom are international visitors, or about 139,938 passengers on average a day, are expected to land and depart from the airport between Jan 16 and 28.
Mr Kittipong said that ten airlines have asked to increase their flights during the Chinese New Year period. He said a total of 86 flights were requested, 26 of which were requested by T’way Air, 24 flights by Jeju Air and ten flights by Xiamen Airlines.
In response to the growing number of Chinese tourists, the airport has Chinese interpreters on hand to assist.
The airport also launched a welcome video to create a positive first impression among tourists around the arrival terminal in eight languages - Thai, English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, German and Indian, Mr Kittipong added.
Meanwhile, China confirmed yesterday it will allow overseas group tours to resume to 20 countries including Thailand.
The approval, effective from Feb 6, covers trips organised by tour agencies and online travel companies for Chinese citizens, it said.
Authorities will allow group tours and “flight+hotel” services to 20 countries. In addition to Thailand, they are: Indonesia, Cambodia, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Russia, Switzerland, Hungary, New Zealand, Fiji, Cuba and Argentina.