Sichuan flies seasonal to Chiang Rai

CHIANG RAI, 12 September 2017: Sichuan Airlines will operate flights for the month of October from Chengdu in China to Chiang Rai, a far-north town in Thailand.

The Chinese airline, according to a schedule posted by AirlineRoute, will fly three weekly services to Chiang Rai 2 to 28 October.

Flights will use a 150-seat Airbus A320.

The flights will be blocked booked by tour operators in Chengdu that sell cheap holiday packages to North Thailand.

Technically they are seasonal charters as seats are not sold openly on the airline’s website or through OTAs directly to individual travellers.

Concerned that Chiang Mai’s airport is fast reaching its ceiling for aircraft movements, Airports of Thailand is encouraging Chinese airlines to use Chiang Rai as alternative, especially for charter series.

Last week, Thai Lion Air announced it will start a scheduled service to Chengdu from another northern town, Chiang Mai, 180 km south of Chiang Rai.

That service will operate from September through to the end of March 2018 based on the airline’s latest schedule.

Sichuan Airlines’ flight will depart Chengdu at 0950 and arrive in Chiang Rai at 1120. The return flight will depart Chiang Rai at 1250 and arrive in Chengdu at 1620 on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

Sichuan Airlines introduced Thailand flights in 2015 with services from Chengdu to Bangkok and later in the year from Haikou. It further expanded its presence in Thailand with a service to Chiang Mai from Chengdu. Its latest additions included seasonal charters out of Chongqing to Krabi and from Chengdu earlier this year.

Sichuan Airlines Group, owned by the provincial government is the major shareholder  in the airline (40%). Other shareholders are China Southern Airlines (39%), Shandong Airlines (10%), Shanghai Airlines (10%) and Gingko Restaurant Company (1%).