Thai airlines seek approval for more domestic flights as fares soar


BANGKOK: Six Thai airlines have asked permission to operate more domestic flights during holiday periods following a public outcry over soaring airfares.

Representatives of Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air, Nok Air and Thai Vietjet met with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) on Tuesday (Feb 19) to discuss ways of reducing fares.

The meeting was called after social media uproar over domestic flight prices that have soared as high as 10,000 baht for a one-way trip from Bangkok to Phuket.

At the meeting, which was called by Transport Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit, the CAAT asked the airlines to explain why ticket prices were so high during long weekends and holidays.

Suriya said the meeting resulted in both short-term and long-term measures to bring down domestic airfares.

For the short term, airlines asked for permission to operate more flights during the holiday season, especially in the morning and evening, so they could offer alternative tickets at cheaper prices.

Suriya said the CAAT would coordinate with the Airports of Thailand Plc, the Department of Airports and the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Ltd (Aero Thai) before the measure is implemented.

The airlines also promised to find ways to lower prices for the Songkran holiday in April, when millions of Thais travel.

The minister said the six airlines would present their short-term plans to lower prices to the CAAT at a meeting on February 28.

For the long term, Suriya said the CAAT would coordinate with the airlines to readjust the ceiling for domestic airfares.

He said the CAAT will come up with a new ceiling as soon as possible since the airlines would need one year’s notice to adjust their pricing system. - The Nation/ANN

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