Thailand: Midnight to dawn discounts

BANGKOK, 22 November 2018: Two of six airports under the management of the Airports of Thailand will offer incentives to boost flights to the country from 1 December to 31 March 2019.

The AOT Board of Directors confirmed, Wednesday, a short-term stimulus package that would promote new flights through Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and Phuket International Airport.

The move is a response to a government directive that called on the AOT to support efforts to boost tourism over a four-month period that is traditionally Thailand’s busiest peak season.

AOT’s aviation marketing campaign excludes four airports that it claimed would not benefit. It manages Chiang Rai Mae Fah Luang International Airport and Hat Yai International Airport both of which it said were not suitable for short-term promotions without elaborating on the obstacles.

However, it said Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport was short of aircraft parking spaces for more airlines and Chiang Mai International Airport was hindered by a crammed landing and take-off schedule and extending the aircraft landing times beyond 2400 was not an option due to noise abatement rules.

That left just Suvarnabhumi and Phuket airports as having potential to accommodate extra flights at nighttime.

AOT will offer incentives to international airlines prepared to land at either airport between 0200 and 0659. They will receive a 50% discount on landing fees and a bonus of THB 200 for every disembarking passenger. The project is valid for four months starting 1 December and ending 31 March.

Travel executives believe the campaign will have limited success due to the short notice. Airlines require considerable advance notice to organise charter operations or seasonal scheduled services.

The discount period also covers peak months when hotel room availability in Phuket and Bangkok could be an issue later in December and January.

However, government officials believe it will encourage charter operators to add more services to take advantage of landing fee discounts.  They are hoping it will encourage Chinese charter operators to collaborate with major tour companies in mainland China, to create a slew of discounted packages to boost arrivals by another 500,000 visits between 1 December this year and Chinese New Year holiday week, 5 to 9 February, 2019.