Thai Airways International on Friday announced direct and non-stop flights from Ahmedabad, New Delhi and Mumbai to the South-East Asian nation twice-a-week from March 31 to tap into the growing business and leisure traffic between the two countries.

These new services will be operated by Thai Smile, a sub-brand of Thai International. While the flights on the Ahmedabad-Bangkok-Ahmedabad route will be operated on Wednesdays and Sundays, those on the New

Delhi-Phuket-New Delhi and Mumbai-Phuket-Mumbai routes will run on Tuesdays, Fridays, Mondays and Thursdays and Thursdays, Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, respectively, a senior official said here.

The airliner will review its Ahmedabad-Bangkok-Ahmedabad flight in the next three months and could make it thrice-a-week. It will also revise the current, introductory fare of Rs 17,425 per person in economy class, on this route. The economy class fare on the New Delhi-Phuket-New Delhi and Mumbai-Phuket-Mumbai routes will be Rs 20,430 and Rs 18,165, respectively.

Thai International, which launched its first air service in India at Kolkata in 1960, now has connectivity with Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore as well. Apart from these six destinations, it also has seasonal services to Varanasi and Bodhgaya. With the addition of the new flights from and to Ahmedabad, New Delhi and Mumbai, the airliner will have a total of 57 flights connecting Thailand with nine destinations in India, said Korakot Chatasingha, General Manager, Thai Airways.

Thai Smile is being used as a product strategy for the first time in the Indian market to refresh the existing Thai International brand, and to bridge the gap between a low-cost and a full-service carrier. Even as a budget airline, Thai Smile will provide all the services of Thai Airways, he said.

The twice-a-week flight will be operated by new Airbus 320 with a capacity of 168 seats, including 12 seats in Thai Smile Plus (business class) category.

He said that 50 per cent of air traffic from Ahmedabad to Thailand was, at present, going through Mumbai. With a direct flight from and to Ahmedabad, Thai Airways expected to increase this traffic, which currently has 20 per cent business visitors and 80 per cent leisure tourists.

(This article was published on March 15, 2013)
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