Thai AirAsia culls Visakhapatnam flight

VISAKHAPATNAM, India, 13 September 2019: Thai AirAsia is due to end its direct air service from Bangkok to Visakhapatnam in India 18 September according to a report in the Times of India.

The airline, based in Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport, has neither confirmed nor denied the report, but local travel executives said the cancellation of flights would be a major blow for the city’s tourism aspirations.

The low-cost airline started the service from its Bangkok base in December last year offering three weekly flights.

The direct flights priced one-way at THB4,530 are bookable up to 18 September. After that date travellers have to book flights with a change of plane in Kuala Lumpur. The fare for two-sector travel is slightly higher at THB5,998. 

However, the differences in flight times are dramatic. The one-way journey between Bangkok and Visakhapatnam on the direct route was two hours and 55 minutes.  The same trip via Kuala Lumpur with a change of plane takes 14 hours and 50 minutes.

Sources said the withdrawal of direct flights could be due to poor revenue management even though airline officials in Visakhapatnam boasted the cabin factor had reached 80%, which should return an operating profit on a route.

The report hinted the low-cost airline had failed to gain the support of local travel agents who could have booked business if they had access to the airline’s lower airfares

The airline offered its lowest fares on its website and mobile app, which is standard practice for a low-cost airline.  Other fares sold to agents for group travel were higher.

Thai Air Asia is the third international airlines to withdraw its flight from the city after Malindo Air and Sri Lankan Airlines.

Visakhapatnam is a port city and industrial centre in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, on the Bay of Bengal. It’s known for its beaches, including Ramakrishna Beach, home to a preserved submarine at the Kursura Submarine Museum. Nearby are the elaborate Kali Temple and the Visakha Museum, an old Dutch bungalow housing local maritime and historical exhibits.

(Source: Times of India)