Orient Thai launches low cost flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
‘One-Two-Go’ on Orient Thai for B 999
Photos Michael Vogt
Orient Thai Airline has followed the call of Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, helping Chiang Mai become the aviation hub of
the North, and making air travel more affordable.
On December 3rd the first 999 baht flight arrived in
Chiang Mai, a fully booked B 757, with many VIPs from Bangkok, who were
curious to see the development of Chiang Mai.
Kokaew Prakaikavil na Chiangmai receiving flowers from Governor Suwat
The first people to disembark in Chiang Mai were the
Chairman of Orient Thai Airlines, Kajit Habanananda; the MD and C.E.O Udom
Tantiprasongchai with his family, and Chao Kokaew Prakaikavil na Chiangmai.
The Governor of Chiang Mai, Suwat Tantipat, waited to
personally welcome the first arrivals. Governor Suwat, said he hopes that
this low price flight on Orient Thai Airline will make it even more
attractive for Bangkokians to plan a leisure stay in the Rose of the North.
of Chiang Mai, Suwat Tantipat, between Udom Tantiprasongchai, C.E.O and MD
of Orient Thai Airlines on his right, and Kajit Habanananda, Chairman of
Orient Thai Airlines on his left, together with VIPs and guests from Bangkok
Udom Tantiprasongchai, Orient Thai Airlines CEO, said
that the promotion rate will be valid for a few weeks only. Orient Thai
Airlines will be leasing up to six Boeing 757 jets for its low cost
operations as well being used in its mainstream international operations. He
said “Even though we will lose money, we have to do it to make ourselves
known. At “One-Two-Go”, when we say 999 baht, it applies to all of the
200 seats on the 757 jet - period!”
Orient Thai Airline have started with four daily flights
from and to Bangkok, but plans eight daily flights for their Boeing 757,
taking up to 233 passengers in economy class. The 999 baht promotion is for
the first 3 weeks, and will increase to about 1,400 from December 25th
onwards. Tickets will on average be at least a third cheaper than Thai
Airways International (THAI).
Passengers will pay for their ticket at check-in and have their photo
taken and printed on the combined boarding pass and ticket to speed their
way through security. Those without baggage will be able to buy their ticket
and reach the gate in three minutes. Passengers will be encouraged to buy
tickets at the airport office or check-in counter without making
reservations, however a telephone hotline will be available for passengers
who feel more comfortable with a reservation and paying for their ticket
beforehand. Prepaid smartcards to purchase Orient Thai Airlines flights and
other services will be sold at convenience stores such as 7-11, Family Mart
and Watsons. Regular travelers will receive a raft of benefits and rewards
via those cards. Buying or topping up a card garners an instant reward. Each
card will carry a greater value than its purchase price. For example, a
5,000 baht card may be worth 5,500 baht. Top-ups will draw similar bonus
credits. Personal details can be stored on the smartcard by the check-in
agent, instantly making the passenger a frequent flyer member and future
ticket purchases faster. Frequent flyers will enjoy benefits such as a free
flight on their birthday. There will also be discount fares for seniors and
students, plus special offers for everybody on early bird and red eye
flights. The smartcard can also be used to pay for services provided by
Orient Thai Airlines’ travel partners including hotel rooms, tours and car
Bus transport increased to handle New Year travelers
Ministry of Transport (MOT) is confident that the number
of buses will be adequate to serve the higher demand of tourists traveling
during New Year’s festival.
Deputy Transport Minister, Nikorn Jamnong said that the
Transport Company Limited would increase bus frequency during the New
Year’s period to cater to the large number of commuters during the festive
Nikhon said that the authorities would tighten security
at the bus stations in major tourist attractions to ensure the safety of
Thai and foreign commuters.
The ministry is considering cutting VIP 24-seater bus
fares, currently priced at 755 baht, to compete against the low cost
airlines. The reduction can be offered to travelers if there is no food
service during the trip, Nikorn said. (TNA)
SriLankan Airlines adds
to India offerings
Taking advantage of the Indian open skies policy
effective from December 1 to February 28, SriLankan Airlines will add new
flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Trichy during that period.
>From December 1, weekly services from Colombo to New
Delhi increased from six to seven, to Mumbai and Trichy from five to six,
and to Bangalore from four to five. From December 15, SriLankan will operate
daily to Mumbai and Trichy and offer six flights each week to Bangalore.
>From December 16 to February 17, two more flights to Chennai will be
added each week, raising weekly services to 17.
SriLankan offers 45 services each week to eight cities in
India, including Gaya, Trivandrum and Cochin.
SriLankan’s head of commercial, G T Jeyaseelan, said,
“The limited open skies policy gives us the opportunity to better serve
the Indian population. Last year visitors from India to Sri Lanka comprised
the largest number of visitors from any one country to the island.”
Meanwhile SriLankan Airlines has also launched air taxi
operations from the international airport at Katunayake, to major tourist
destinations within the island including Galle, Bentota, Kandy and Dambulla
in December. The air taxis will reduce travel time from four to six hours by
road to a 30-minute flight. Once established, more destinations will be
added to the service. (TTG Asia)
Bill Heinecke to speak at 9th Mekong Tourism Forum
Bill Heinecke, chief executive officer and chairman of
Royal Garden Resorts (RGR), will be one of the key speakers at the upcoming
9th Mekong Tourism Forum scheduled for March 26-28, 2004 in Chiang Mai.
Heinecke will close out the forum with a keynote address
entitled “Private Sector Investments in Mekong Tourism”. RGR is one of
Thailand’s biggest hotel owners with nine properties under brands such as
Four Seasons, Marriott and Anantara.
The opening keynote address will be delivered by Hong
Kong Polytechnic University School of Hotel and Tourism Management chairman,
Professor Kaye Chon.
Breakout sessions will debate how to better protect,
position, and promote Greater Mekong Sub-region tourism.
The sessions will be led by PATA vice president, Peter Semone; the dean
of the School of Travel Industry Management at the University of Hawaii,
Professor Walter Jamieson; and Asian Development Bank consultant Les Clark.
AirAsia to take off with 99 baht flights
The latest regional low-cost airline is to take to the
sky with 810 flights from Phuket to Malaysia, and 900 baht flights from
Bangkok to Singapore, before offering 99 baht promotional flights from
Bangkok to Phuket and Chiang Mai in January next year.
Announcing the launch of AirAsia the airline’s
Executive President Tony Fernandez said that the airline’s inaugural
flights between Phuket and Kuala Lumpur would begin on 8 December this year,
with tickets costing 810 baht.
A second route linking Bangkok with Johor Bahru would be
launched on 2 February 2004, with one-way tickets priced at 900 baht, he
said, adding that the routes would be serviced by 148-seater planes.
Fernandez also announced plans to launch domestic flights
from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, costing no more than 900 baht, and from Bangkok
to Phuket, priced between 500 baht and Bt600 baht
The flights would begin on 8 January, with an average of
6-7 flights on each route per day. (TNA)
“ICE” offers Emirates customers choice entertainment and convenience
Emirates new $8 million ICE (information, communication
and entertainment) system starting in December will feature 100 movies and
50 TV channels on demand, 350-plus audio channels and 40 in-flight games.
The award-winning airline is launching the industry’s
most sophisticated on-demand video and audio system, making it the first to
show BBC World news updates in-flight, and first to let travelers send and
receive email and SMS from any seat for just $1 a time.
On non-stop trips to and from Australia - and next year
North America - they will test their knowledge in trivia tournaments, save
the world from space invaders, sink a putt at mini-golf, challenge a
colleague to a game of Hangman, or try their skill at 10-pin bowling.
Every passenger can also telephone anyone anywhere for US
$5 a minute, using an individual handset to access the world’s most
widely-used in-flight telephone system.
Emirates is also pioneering Room Service, allowing them
to phone over their requirements to the cabin crew at any time.