Thai Airways International regional affiliate Thai Smile is due to open a much expected route between Bangkok and Cebu from this coming October.
Thai Smile Airways made the announcement following the hosting of Routes Asia 2016 in Manila last March. The carrier announced it will fly direct to Cebu in the Visayas from October 2016 with a daily frequency. Thai Smile will use an Airbus 320 with 162 dual class seats (12 business class and 150 economy class).
The new route will be the carrier’s first touch-down in the Philippines and will be the sixth regional destination of the carrier, which currently flies from Bangkok to Changsha, Chongqing, Penang, Siem Reap and Yangon as well as to a dozen of destinations within Thailand.
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. 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.
Thai Smile executives recently visited Bohol, Cebu, Clark and Manila airports with the Market Development Group of the Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT), to gather information and to meet airport officials. 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. Cebu-Bangkok was already flown in 2013 by Philippines low cost carrier Cebu Pacific but only for a short period of time.