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Thai Airways unit starts Cebu-Bangkok route in October

MANILA, Philippines - Thai Smile Airways will begin non-stop service from  Mactan, Cebu to Bangkok beginning this October.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Thai Airways, the carrier will offer direct daily services with thrice weekly in the morning and four times weekly in the afternoon using an Airbus320 with 162 dual class seats.

The daily Bangkok-Cebu-Bangkok route is in addition to Thai Smiles’ five international and 12 domestic routes in Thailand.

“We expect a good amount of traffic from both ends considering that Bangkok is one of the popular destinations for Filipino business and leisure travellers. Thailand is also located strategically between the Philippines and Europe, the Middle East, and India, where visitor traffic to the country is registering double digit growth annually,” Thai Smiles executive Wutcharin Thatan said.

Thatan said the non-stop service would be faster and more convenient for travellers from the Central and Southern Philippines than the current option of flying to Manila onward to Bangkok.

Erwin Balane, Department of Tourism (DOT) Route Development team head, said the new route would provide an additional 58,968 international air seats per year to Cebu.

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“This will provide expanded opportunity for the country to generate foreign exchange and employment,” he added.

The new route is an offshoot of the country’s hosting of Routes Asia last March, which is considered the biggest aviation event in the region where airlines, airports, and tourism authorities meet to discuss possible aviation opportunities.

“The new route complements the agency’s thrust to intensify promotion of direct flights to other international gateways such as Cebu by stimulating air traffic demand in opportunity markets,” DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said.

According to the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, Mactan-Cebu has emerged as one of the fastest-growing airports in the Southeast Asian region following the continued congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. It is the second busiest airport in the Philippines with 4.5 million annual passenger capacity and is poised to increase annual capacity to 12.5 million passengers when the new terminal opens in 2018.

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