THAI to let THAI Smile operate Hat Yai flights from March 30

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BANGKOK, 18 February 2014  Thai Airways International (THAI) has announced that all of its flights to Hat Yai, Songkhla, will be operated by its lower-cost daughter airline, THAI Smile, from March 30 onwards. 

According to Mr Chokchai Panyayong, Acting President and Senior Executive Vice President of the Commercial Department of THAI, the national flag carrier is scheduled to stop operating flights from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Hat Yai Airport, starting on March 30, in order to allow THAI Smile Airways to take over the task.

The change is said to be a reflection of the decline in passenger number on the Hat Yai route, especially during the low season. Given the cabin factor of only 50-60%, Mr Chokchai pointed out that the smaller aircraft of THAI Smile would be more suitable to serve people traveling to and from Hat Yai.

Mr Chokchai added that the overall passenger number of THAI had been decreasing since October 2013. He said the drop was particularly evident among travelers from China and Hong Kong whose number had fallen by almost 30% from the normal average of about 1 million.

The acting president attributed the decrease to China’s stricter regulations on outbound tours and the ongoing political unrest in Thailand. With no improvement in sight, he said the political situation could continue to affect THAI’s income until the latter half of this year.