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More Flights to Thailand approved by Government

 

India and Thailand inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on air services in Bangkok on Friday, just a day prior to the announcement of general elections.

“The bilateral MoU will further enhance capacities of airlines operating between the two countries, aiming at strengthening people-to-people and economic ties,” stated the Indian Embassy in Bangkok in a social media post.

Presently, Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet, and Vistara operate flights connecting India and Bangkok. Additionally, Air India and IndiGo serve flights to Phuket. While Indian carriers operate flights to Thailand from six cities, four Thai carriers connect twelve destinations in India. The current frequency stands at approximately 75 daily flights (two-way) between the two nations.

As per the new agreement, Indian carriers will have the opportunity to increase frequencies and introduce new routes in Thailand. The two governments have consented to a phased increment in the existing entitlement of 32,000 seats per week, with an initial increase of 7,000 seats followed by another 7,000.

Thailand has also agreed to open four new additional points of call for Indian carriers, including Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Surat Thani, and Udon Thani.

The existing 32,000 weekly seats encompass those allocated to Go First. Although these seats have not been reassigned following its closure, other carriers, excluding SpiceJet, are fully utilising their entitlement.

“This expansion is particularly beneficial for both India and Thailand, considering the significant proportion of origin-and-destination traffic in the air travel market between the two countries,” remarked an airline executive. This stands in contrast to the situation with West Asian countries, where requests for additional capacities are currently on hold by the government.

Under bilateral air services agreements, scheduled international flights between nations are facilitated. Such agreements involve the exchange of seats/frequencies and destinations on a reciprocal basis. These traffic rights are overseen by governments and allocated to their respective airlines.

As a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Thai carriers also have unrestricted access to eighteen non-metro cities in India, which are not subject to negotiated seat quotas.

“Due to its proximity and competitive prices, Thailand has always experienced high demand for travel. Moreover, there is a growing interest in wellness and luxury resorts,” stated Guldeep Singh Sahni, co-chairman (outbound travel) at FICCI.

“An increase in capacity will likely attract more travelers. However, concerns persist regarding European and US visas. Destinations offering hassle-free travel experiences stand to gain during the travel season,” added Jyoti Mayal, president of the Travel Agents Association of India.

Thailand initiated a visa-free entry scheme for Indians last November, running until May 10, which has contributed to a surge in traffic from India. In February alone, nearly 150,000 Indians visited Thailand, marking a 120% increase compared to 2019, according to data from the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

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