2017 has seen unprecedented increase in flights between India & Bangkok. While airlines from many other countries have increased flights to India, the case of Bangkok is unique as Indian carriers are launching additional flights and connecting tier II cities. The first three quarters of the calendar year has seen the traffic grow 17% between India & Thailand and it is set to soar further.
Low cost carrier Spicejet will launch its flight between Ahmedabad & Bangkok – Suvarnabhumi on 7th December. The airline already operates services to Bangkok from Kolkata & Delhi.
National carrier Air India will launch its second daily flight between its hub Delhi and Bangkok. This flight will be operated by Airbus A320neo while the existing one is operated by B787 Dreamliner. Air India will also link Bangkok to Chandigarh (3x week), Varanasi & Bhubaneshwar (2x weekly each), having dropped the plan to link Gaya in favor of Bhubaneshwar at the last minute.
The bilateral agreement between India & Thailand limit the seats to 26,354 per week to six metro airports viz. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad and allows unlimited flights to 18 other destinations viz. Patna, Lucknow, Gaya, Varanasi, Bhubaneshwar, Khajuraho, Aurangabad, Goa, Jaipur, Port Blair, Kochi, Trivandrum, Calicut, Amritsar, Vizag, Ahmedabad and Trichy.
The Thai carriers have also been trying to adjust frequencies and launch flights. Thai Lion, part of the Lion group, started its service between Bangkok – Don Mueang & Mumbai. The Lion Air group has started focusing on India with its Malaysian subsidiary Malindo Air (Batik Air Malaysia) having a sizeable presence followed by flights of Batik Air Indonesia which operates via Kuala Lumpur. Thai Lion intends to operate to Kochi early next year having pushed the launch date twice.
Thai Air Asia, the subsidiary of AirAsia started enhancing its Indian presence with flights to Jaipur & Trichy. The airline already operates to Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi and Kolkata. The airline could launch flights to Vizag, Bhubaneshwar and Ahmedabad in near future.
Thai Smile, the subsidiary of Thai Airways took over one frequency to Mumbai and the airline already operates to Lucknow & Jaipur.
Indian carriers have not tried venturing beyond the Bangkok market and limited period operations by Thai from Phuket to India did not yield desirable results. Go Air, which is yet to start international services with 12 years of operations and 30 aircraft in fleet was to launch services between Mumbai & Phuket and it remains to be seen if it would materialize and how the response would be?
Is it time for a Thai holiday in the new year? The additional capacity is bound to help prices remain stable or see a reduction. If you have a penchant for flying some rare airlines, Bhutanese carriers provide flights to Bangkok from Guwahati and Bagdogra!