Airlines cut domestic fares

BANGKOK, 22 September 2022: It took days for the news announcing a THB300 discount on all domestic airline flights to trickle down to social media and news outlets. It should have been much faster.

Six airlines that are members of the Thailand Airline Association joined the Tourism Authority of Thailand to launch the AMXTH300 deal on domestic fares last week.

There was a considerable delay in the publicity drive which finally clicked in when the airlines posted the deal on their Facebook accounts yesterday. Domestic travellers can grab the THB300 discount on bookings until midnight on 10 October. Fights are valid from 1 November through to 31 December.

Officially the campaign, supported by the TAT, is called “Discounts All Over the Sky, Fly All Over Thailand,” but more importantly, to get the discounts, you need to tap in the AMZTH300 code to activate the deal on airline booking sites.

TAA members supporting the discount are Bangkok Airways, Thai AirAsia, Thai Smile, Nok Air, Thai Lion Air and Thai VietJet. The seventh TAA member, Thai AirAsia X, only serves international medium to long-haul routes.

Discounts apply on 500,000 seats across the six participating airlines, valid for travel until 31 December. Relying almost entirely on domestic travellers to revive tourism earnings, TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn believes the discount will help the country reach its domestic revenue goal. Airline services are increasing, but the domestic fare deal is unavailable in the international space as far as booking opportunities go. By design, it caters exclusively for Thais and expatriate residents.

TAA president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth claims the six airlines should regain their 2019 booking levels by the fourth quarter of 2023. That is remarkably optimistic. Bangkok Airways is struggling to resume lucrative codeshare deals that represented a substantial part of its revenue during 2019 before the Covid 19 lockdown. The airlines suspended codeshare agreements during the pandemic. Around 70% of the airline’s international bookings come from codeshare flights, mostly European airlines that use Bangkok Airways flights on domestic sectors or to destinations in neighbouring countries. Even if the codeshare agreements resume in 2023, most aviation experts say full recovery could take longer, possibly by 2024. China’s schedule leading up to the reopening of outbound leisure travel remains crucial for Southeast Asia’s airlines. It could be as early as Chinese New Year in January 202s or much later in the year. There are still no hints on the timetable.

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