THAI cuts Samui flights

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BANGKOK, 30 May 2018: Thai Airways International will end services on the Bangkok-Samui route this September.

The national airline flies the route twice daily using a 149-seat Boeing 737-400.

It negotiated permission to offer two daily flights with Bangkok Airways, which developed and manages the privately-run airport in 2008.

At the time, the national airline said it would be very convenient for leisure travellers  flying THAI to Bangkok to be able to transfer to a TG flight to Samui.

It was also considered a breakthrough at the time ending a monopoly on the Bangkok-Samui flight sector. Bangkok Airways dominates the route offering around 19 flights daily each way.

THAI executives can justify cancelling the service this September following the signing of a comprehensive codeshare agreement with Bangkok Airways signed last year. The airline can ticket its European or Asian passengers through to Samui using any of the PG daily flights at agreed fares that are competitive for TG to resell.

Online booking sites peg the lowest roundtrip fare for the two daily TG flights at THB 9,175, while Bangkok Airways’ lowest fare is THB 8,313, with choice of 19 daily flights.

To put the BKK-USM roundtrip fare in perspective the air distance between Samui and Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok is a mere 467 km compared with 702 km between Chiang Rai (CEI) and Bangkok.  Bangkok Airways’  BKK-CEI roundtrip fare, during the first week of June, is THB 2,835.

Samui Island’s airport was developed as the first privately owned airport, but faced constant criticism from hoteliers on the island who claimed Bangkok Airways made it difficult for competitors to serve the island.

At one point the government threatened to build a second airport on the island, but land appropriation costs were too high. However, the tactic did result in THAI gaining landing rights for two flights daily.

According to Airlineroute’s timetable information, THAI will end its TG281 service that departs Bangkok at 0745 and TG 287 that departs Bangkok at 1530 on 2 September.

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