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Surat Thani governor urges Thai Smile not to quit flights from Bangkok

Thai Smile Airbus A320 tail strike Phuket Airport

The governor of Surat Thani has urged low-cost carrier Thai Smile to continue its service between BKK Suvarnabhumi and the southern province. The carrier is set to discontinue the flights from October 1, much to Witchawut Jinto’s dismay.

“We want Thai Smile to reconsider its policy and keep the service to Surat Thani.”

The services from Bangkok to Surat Thani have become a popular ‘work around’ for passengers trying to avoid the extortionate fares from Bangkok to Koh Samui charged by Bangkok Airways. Bangkok Airways operates the Samui Airport and has been charging high fares, monopolising the flights into the Gulf island.

The Bangkok Post reports that Surat Thani Governor Witchawut has submitted a letter to Thai Smile, which is a subsidiary of Thai Airways. In it, he urges the mostly domestic airline to continue operating on the route, saying there have been many complaints about plans to discontinue the service.

The governor points out that October 1, the date the service is scheduled to end, is the start of the tourist high season. He says many tourists arriving at Surat Thani go on to travel to neighbouring provinces.

“It’s disheartening that Thai Smile will stop flights between Suvarnabhumi and Surat Thani as it is a very popular route.”

According to Witchawut, during the first half of 2023, Surat Thani Airport handled 695,682 passengers, but last month, there were 114,404 passengers alone, travelling on 754 flights. If Thai Smile drops the Suvarnabhumi service, the governor says there won’t be enough flights to serve tourists during high season.

Thai Smile first announced its plans to suspend the service in 2019, but local business operators successfully lobbied to keep it going.

Surat Thani Airport is also served by Thai VietJet’s flights from Suvarnabhumi, while AirAsia, Nok Air, and Thai Lion Air all fly from Bangkok Don Mueang.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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