China eyes 500% increase in flights to Thailand next month

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The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has taken the lead in proposing to increase the frequency of scheduled flights between China and Thailand from three a week to 15 next month, according to the Authority. Civil Aviation of Thailand (CAAT).

According to CAAT, it received an official letter from CAAC last week exploring the possibility of increasing the number of scheduled passenger flights between the two countries.

China has said it expects 15 weekly flights from Thailand from September, according to CAAT. China has also asked Thailand to consider increasing flights with the same frequency in the opposite direction.

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China has asked Thailand to submit a plan to increase flights between the two countries. Photo: Getty Images

The CAAC, in the letter, asked CAAT to submit a plan of flight routes that Thai airlines wish to operate to see if the relevant Chinese airports can handle the additional flights based on the current anti-aircraft policy. COVID. China is currently not allowing additional flights to certain cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

CAAT brought Thai airlines together in a meeting on August 18 to gather needs and willingness to fly to China. CAAT said,

“The flight plan should be sent to the CAAC next week. We hope to receive a response from the CAAC by the end of September.”

If granted, flights could resume as early as the end of next month.

However, CAAT perished in the belief that Chinese tourists would return to Thailand on these additional flights, despite Chinese tourists being the largest foreign tourist group in Thailand before the pandemic. The additional flights would only be for necessary travel such as business travel and international student travel due to China’s continued strict measures against COVID-19.

Positive signs from Thailand

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on August 19 agreed to lift the emergency decree and disband the country’s COVID management authority (CCSA) on October 1, indicating the government’s announcement Thai people about the end of the COVID epidemic in Thailand.

Thailand has also extended tourist visa from maximum 30 days to maximum 45 days, visa on arrival from maximum 15 days to maximum 30 days, effective October 1, 2022.

As early as the end of June, news of Thai Smile’s return to three Chinese cities was posted on popular platforms such as Weibo and TikTok. Its flight WE684 was scheduled to take off from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) at 7:45 a.m. and arrive at Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (CKG) at 12:05 p.m.

Thai Smile, a subsidiary of Thai Airways International, is a regional airline operating short to medium-haul routes. It launched its first international flights in 2012. The fleet includes 20 aircraft (Airbus A320-200 and Airbus A320-200SL) serving Chinese cities including Changsha, Chongqing and Zhengzhou, according to its website. In 2013, Thai Smile operated three weekly flights from Bangkok to Chongqing. However, like other foreign airlines, it has taken steps to cut or ground its flights to China since February 2020 due to the outbreak.

Thai Smile, the regional subsidiary of Thai, operated A320s to China before the outbreak. Photo: Thai smile

Below are the flights currently operating between China and Thailand in the coming weeks. If things go well, we will expect significant flight growth thereafter:

Date Airline company Plane Itinerary Rate
August 27 Shanghai Airlines Boeing 787 Bangkok – Nanchang, Jiangxi Province 90381 RMB ($13176) Business class left only
August 30 Spring Airlines Airbus A320 Bangkok – Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province 28851 RMB ($4206)
September 9 Vietnam Jet Air Airbus A321 Bangkok – Chengdu, Sichuan Province 20293 RMB ($2958)
September 9 Shenzhen Airlines Airbus A330 Bangkok – Shenzhen, Guangdong Province 38962 RMB ($5680)
September 12 Xiamen Airlines Boeing 787 Bangkok – Xiamen, Fujian Province 19921 RMB ($2904)
September 15 Vietnam Jet Air Airbus A321 Bangkok – Kunming, Yunnan Province 19998 RMB ($2915)
September 16 Nok Air Boeing 737 Bangkok – Zhengzhou, Henan Province 20295 RMB ($2959)
September 19 Thai smile Bangkok – Chongqing Municipal City 21120 RMB ($3079)

* Fares shown are for economy class unless otherwise stated

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