Thai Smile Airways, the budget subsidiary of Thai Airways International has recently announce it will fly direct to Cebu, Philippines starting October 2016.
|Photo Credit : www.philippineflightnetwork.com|
The said airline will fly to Cebu on a daily basis with three times weekly in the morning and four times weekly in the afternoon using an Airbus 320 with 162 dual class seats (12 business class and 150 economy class).
Thai Smile Airways is the regional airline and wholly owned subsidiary of Thai Airways. Based in Thailand, it began operations in July 2012. The daily Bangkok-Cebu-Bangkok route is in addition to Thai Smiles’ five international routes and twelve domestic routes in Thailand.
Mr. Wutcharin Thatan, Thai Smiles executive, said the airline expects a good amount of traffic from both ends considering that Bangkok is one of the popular destinations for Filipino business and leisure travellers. Likewise, Thailand is located strategically between the Philippines and Europe, the Middle East, and India, where visitor traffic to the country is registering double digit growth annually.
Mr. Thatan also explained that the non-stop service between Cebu and Bangkok will be faster and more convenient for travellers from the Central and Southern Philippines than the current option which is to fly from Cebu to Manila onward to Bangkok, saving up to one and half hours of domestic flight and a few thousand pesos for local fares.
The airline executive, together with the Market Development Group of the Department of Tourism (DOT), recently visited Manila, Cebu, Bohol, and Clark to gather information and to meet airport officials in preparation for the coming flights. Mr. Erwin Balane, Head of the DOT’s Route Development Team, said that the new route will provide an additional 58,968 international air seats per year to Cebu. This will provide expanded opportunity for the country to generate foreign exchange and employment.
The new route is an offshoot of the Philippines’ hosting of Routes Asia 2016 held at the SMX Convention Center last March 2016 in Manila. The event was considered as the biggest aviation event in Asia where airlines, airports, and tourism authorities met to discuss possible aviation opportunities.
DOT Undersecretary Benito C. Bengzon, Jr. said the new route complements the agency thrust to intensify promotion of direct flights to other international gateways such as Cebu by stimulating air traffic demand in opportunity markets.
Thai Smiles currently has 15 units of the Airbus 320 which are intended to serve the market gap between low-cost carriers and full service airlines.