Can Thai Airways New Budget Carrier Lift Samui?
National flag carrier Thai Airways International has made public plans for a new budget carrier Thai Smile.
Set to operate by the middle of next year from Bangkok to domestic destinations including Surat Thani, Chiang Rai, Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani.
Quotes by the head of the airline say the initial focus will be tertiary/secondary destinations and eventually move to international routes up to two hours flying time by 2013
The fleet of planes will be eleven Airbus A-320's which work on a capacity of 174 passengers.
For the tourism destination of Koh Samui the flights to Surat Thani allow a great opportunity to tap into a healthy stream of airlift. While the airport is 45 minutes from Don Sak and then a ferry ride away, we understand local groups are looking at a closer connection to Surat which could cut travel time and provide the ability to move larger group and charter flight business.
This development looks to point to a positive that a Surat and Samui connection, given the existing substantial airport at the former may be able to partially alleviate airlift concerns on the island.