Direct flights from China to Thailand get a boost

20th Jan 2023

Busy Airport

Five airlines are launching direct flights between China and Phuket in southern Thailand this week, connecting Phuket to Shanghai, Nanjing, and Chengdu. Today, Phuket will welcome three direct flights from Shanghai on Spring Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, and Juneyao Airlines.

All three services will fly daily. Juneyao Airlines’ inaugural daily direct service from Nanjing will also land on Phuket’s runway today.

Tomorrow, China Eastern Airlines will launch direct flights between Phuket and Nanjing, operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. On Friday, Sichuan Airlines’ direct service to Phuket will take off from Chengdu, flying daily. Three more airlines, including Hainan Airlines, Air China, and China Southern Airlines, have requested slots to commence direct services from China to Phuket. If their slots are approved, a total of eight airlines will be operating direct routes between Phuket and mainland China.

Phuket Airport is ready to welcome masses of international and domestic tourists, according to Airport Director Monchai Tanot. Phuket Airport currently facilitates around 40,000 - 43,000 inbound and outbound passengers daily, said Monchai. Airport traffic is at about 80% of pre-pandemic levels, when the airport saw around 52,000 passengers come and go daily, said the airport director.

Monchai noted that the revival of several services to Europe this high season has helped the airport get busy again. Monchai said passengers and cabin crew on the inaugural flights of each new service from China would be given gifts upon arrival at the airport.

China recently reopened its border for the first time in three years. Given that China was once Thailand’s top tourism market, Thailand is bracing itself for an influx of arrivals from China, which are expected to spike during the upcoming Chinese New Year holidays. Online searches for flights to Thailand during the Chinese New Year beat searches for flights to all other countries in the region, according to travel marketing company Sojern.

The skies above Thailand will be full of Chinese flights this week, with 240 scheduled flights over the Chinese New Year. The Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (Aerothai) announced that during the holiday period from January 19 to 25, an average of 34 flights per day are expected to arrive in Thailand from China. This is expected to bring a powerful kick to the tourism industry as Chinese tourists can finally travel to Thailand again after three years of pandemic restrictions.