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Thai Airways will continue flying to Mae Hong Son after citizens gather to protes

Thai Airways will continue flying to Mae Hong Son after citizens gather to protest

Saksit Meesubkwang

A reprieve has been announced for the Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Song flights by Thai Airways International after 300 Mae Hong Son residents gathered at the airport to protest plans to pass the route on to Nok Air.

Thai Airways International consents to continue serving in Mae Hong Son (Photo by Nopniwat Krailerg)

The demonstration took place as Somchainuk Engtrakul, CEO of Thai Airways International, Vasing Kittikul, executive vice president of the Commercial Department, and Piya Yodmanee, CEO of Nok Air traveled to Mae Hong Son where they met with governor Direk Konkleep at city hall.

Somchainuk said that high fuel costs were costing the company an extra 1,200 million baht a year, and therefore air routes that were losing money had to be canceled.

Mae Hong Son MP Panya Jeenakham appealed to Thai Airways to continue flying the Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son route because the link had been maintained with the province for 60 years and was part of the community.

Besides, said Panya, residents trusted Thai Airways more than other airlines. If this air route was transferred, it might affect Mae Hong Son tourism and have other consequences.

Piya said that Nok Air was a new airline that residents were not used to, but the company would build up trust and good relationships given time.

The meeting lasted for three hours and at the end Somchainuk declared that to prevent any conflict, Thai Airways would continue to maintain the route with three flights per day. During the high season, five flights per day would be provided but this would not be within the current year.

Nok Air will provide one flight per day increasing to four flights a day to support tourists during the high season.

Thai Airways will adjust the ticket price from 1,170 to 1,300 baht to reflect the increased fuel costs. The resolution satisfied all and the protesters disbanded.