Announcements have been made that Thai Vietjet Air has resumed direct flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Chiang Mai after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic. The flight operates three times a week.
Additionally Phuket has welcomed the inaugural flight by Vietnam Airlines from Ho Chi Minh City to the island’s international airport on September 1st.
More than 400,000 foreign tourists have landed in Phuket since May 1st according to Phuket Immigration. On August 30th, Phuket International Airport Immigration reported arrival statistics showing that from 1st May to 30th August, 104,350 Indian nationals had arrived in Phuket. Other top countries of origin were Australia – 44,313, Singapore – 39,257, Britain – 27,683, Malaysia – 22,920, Germany – 16,100, USA – 14,150 and Russia – 13,016.
Meanwhile progress towards the arrival of Hua Hin Airport as a real international destination appears to have taken a step forward with an inspection by Member of Parliament Pornthep Visutvattanasak, together with Airport Director Aphisit Ubonkomut and a commissioning team. This has been a safety inspection required before the approval of international flights.
It seems that this administrative approval has been the missing piece required before the intent of the many international carriers to fly directly to Hua Hin can be realised. Higher safety and security standards have been required by the Office of Civil Aviation of Thailand (CAAT) for international airports in a post-covid world.
Hopes remain high that opening the airport to international travel will coincide with the beginning of this year’s high tourism season, although officials remain tight-lipped on making any announcements.
Mr. John Laroche, CEO of Phoenix Aviation and initiator of the Phoenix-plan for the airport’s future, stays that the Memorandums of Understand (MOU), signed by many international airlines, remain intact. This refers to flights from regional flight centres such as Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, India and southern China to add to this impetus for the airport’s international status.
Announcements for the approval and commencement of these flights is now eagerly awaited. The importance of the airport to the future of regional tourism cannot be overstated, particularly with an increased competition forecast from tourism centres both in Thailand and internationally, especially in south east Asia.