HAT YAI, 11 February 2016: Thai AirAsia will launch daily direct flights from Hat Yai to Thailand’s far north Chiang Rai and to the Malaysian town of Johor Bahru just across the causeway from Singapore, effective 1 April.
Airline CEO, Tassapon Bijleveld, said both the Hat Yai to Chiang Rai and Hat Yai to Johor Bahru routes have strong potential for tourism and business as they are a response to passenger demand.
“Hat Yai is a one-of-a-kind city for both tourism and commerce. The new routes will help to strengthen the carrier network to tap both sectors.”
Thai AirAsia is taking the lead in Thailand, by establishing point-to-point services between secondary cities. They cut fare costs and travel times for resident in the provinces.
The Chiang Rai-Hat Yai route is a first for the far north town. All of the 20 or more daily domestic flights to Chiang Rai terminate in Bangkok.
There was speculation, last year, that Thai AirAsia would position an aircraft in Chiang Rai to offer direct flights to key domestic and international destinations. Also, speculation over the last two years focused on Tiger Airways, establishing a direct flight from Singapore to Chiang Rai. It failed to materialise as the airline’s finances went into free-fall.
However, a direct flight from Chiang Rai to Singapore would link residents to the region’s favourite gateway, Changi airport. There are more flight options to Australia, Indonesia and Europe from Changi than from Bangkok’s two airports. There is also a wider choice of low-cost airline options out of Singapore.
AirAsia launched its first flight out of Hat Yai 12 years ago and today operates routes from Hat Yai: to Bangkok, eight daily flights; to Chiang Mai, two daily flights; U-Tapao (Pattaya,) four flights a week. AirAsia Malaysia (AK) flight from Hat Yai to Kuala Lumpur is 10 times a week.
“All of the routes have seen steady growth, which gives the airline an incentive to add even more connectivity,” the airline CEO reported.The airline offers a one-way promotional fare on the two new routes at THB990. Fare includes airport tax. Booking must be made by 21 February to travel during 1 April to 5 February next year.