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Aviation experts say Thai air travel will recover to pre-Covid levels next year

PHOTO: Flickr/Ferry Octavian

Thailand’s aviation industry is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels in the coming year, before reaching the top 10 worldwide in ten years’ time. According to a Nation Thailand report, Thailand is predicted to rank among the top 10 global aviation hubs by 2033. – there’s certainly enough airlines flying Thai skies to support that looming claim.

The International Air Transport Association has confirmed that during the first 9 months of this year, Thailand’s international flights climbed back to 71% of 2019 levels.

IATA says that in the next 10 years, the country can expect to become the 9th largest aviation hub in the world, behind China, the United States, India, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Spain, Japan and Germany.

So far, nine new Thai carriers have been granted operating licences and now await their air operator certificates in order to start offering services in the coming months. Many of the new players are either cargo or charter airlines.

There are also plans afoot to improve capacity at Thailand’s major airports, in order to meet inbound demand, which is expected to grow as a result of the government’s stimulus measures – including temporary visa-free entry for travellers from significant markets like China and India.

Nation Thailand reports that the government has discussed a 3-phase plan to improve the capacity of both airports and airlines.

Phase 1 is expected to take one year and will involve the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, Airports Authority of Thailand, and Aeronautical Radio of Thailand increasing flight schedules by 15% a week in order to meet demand.

Phase 2 will take 1 to 3 years and is focused on enhancing the capabilities of existing airports, while Phase 3 (5 to 7 years) will increase passenger and flight capacity by building new terminals at both Chiang Mai and Phuket airports.

Both airports are expected to see an extra 50 million passengers a year once the new terminals open.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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