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New Visa policy to increase flights to 1.3m next year

New Visa policy to increase flights to 1.3m next year

According to Deputy Minister of Transport Surapong Piyachote, Thailand anticipates more than 1.3 million flights in 2019 as a result of the government’s recent announcement of a visa-free travel policy for visitors from China, Kazakhstan, India, and Taiwan.

Following yesterday’s discussion with executives of Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Ltd (Aerothai), he disclosed that the ministry’s goal is to optimize air traffic flow management in order to enable an increase in the number of foreign aircraft arriving in Thailand going forward.

Aerothai estimates that between October 1 of last year and September 30 of this year, there were roughly 720,000 flights. But by the end of this year, there will be up to 1.2 million flights to Thailand, almost back to pre-pandemic levels. According to Aerothai, the free visa policy will increase flying numbers by 20–30%, equivalent to roughly 1.3 million flights, in the upcoming year.

Citizens of Taiwan and India are not required to apply for visas between November 10 and May 10 of the following year. An additional 400,000 citizens of Taiwan and 900,000 citizens of India are expected to visit during the six-month visa-free period.

According to Mr. Surapong, a few transport companies have applied for licenses to operate seaplanes with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand. According to Aerothai, Siam Seaplane Thailand is one of the applicants aiming to run a seaplane service on Satun province’s Lipe island.

The minister of transportation went on to say that by December, Aerothai would be studying relevant rules that would govern seaplane routes and operations. Passengers with high incomes who can afford privacy and luxury will be the service’s primary market.

The seaplanes are scheduled to operate on domestic routes that link the islands and the mainland. I think that if tourism demand increases in the future, business will expand,” Mr. Surapong stated.

According to Noppasit Chakpitak, president of Aerothai, the company is willing to work with the government to increase the number of foreign visitors by utilizing international airport capacity.

Suvarnabhumi airport’s air traffic will increase from 68 flights per hour to 94–104 flights thanks to Aerothai’s training of its air traffic controllers to handle high-intensity runway operations, he said.

Furthermore, if Don Mueang airport’s third runway is finished by the end of next year, it will be able to handle 57 planes per hour, up from 50. By the end of next year, Phuket airport’s new terminal will enable it to handle 25 aircraft per hour, up from 20 currently.

In order to accommodate more regional flights, Mr. Noppasit continued, Aerothai has partnered with China and Laos to establish air routes.


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