BANGKOK, 5 October 2017: Thai Lion Air is adding more flights to China, but they are not open for bookings here in Thailand.
The flights are technically scheduled charters; cheap deals for Chinese tour operators who bulk-purchase seat allotments at below market fares. They are bundled into holiday packages sold to Chinese tourists through retail travel and online outlets.
For the airline, which has poor aircraft utilisation, offering them to Chinese tour operators keeps planes in the air earning revenue.
Thai Lion Air launched charters out of China in late-September using Boeing 737 aircraft from its base at Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport (DMK).
Charters from Changzhou started 26 September with four weekly flights. On the same day daily charter fights were also introduced from Hangzhou.
Earlier in September, three weekly charters were introduced from Wuhan that will increase to six weekly 30 October.
Other charters, four weekly, are operating from Xi’An and Zhengzhou.
There are also three weekly charters from Changsha to Krabi six weekly from Xi’An to Phuket and one weekly to Surat Thani, (mainland airport close to Samui Island).
Nok Air and Thai Lion are leaders in the cheap charter market from China, this month, with the flights peaking during Golden Week, 1 to 10 October.