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Thai AirAsia adds Macau flight

posted Mar 26, 2012, 8:31 PM by Dong Travel Ticketing   [ updated Mar 26, 2012, 9:02 PM by Mickey Dong Hoang Thinh ]

CHIANG MAI, 26 March 2012: Thai AirAsia will launch new regional flights to Macau from Chiang Mai, 22 May, to replace a service to Singapore that will be axed 21 May.

The service will encourage Chiang Mai residents to travel to the gambling destination where casino revenue and visits exceeds even the iconic Las Vegas.

Dragon Air will also start a service from Hong Kong to Chiang Mai, but only during the territory’s school holiday season, July to September.

Thai AirAsia’s Macau service will depart daily from Chiang Mai at 1615 and arrive in Macau at 1955. The flight returns at 2045 and arrives in Chiang Mai at 2230.

Thai AirAsia’s says the flight will tap the South China market, but the reality is that it will also serve Thai gamblers who would have to fly to Bangkok first to connect to Macau.

Dragon Air’s Chiang Mai service, 1 July until 30 September, will operate three times a week in July and two times  a week in August and September.

However Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association president, Sarawut Saetiao, told TTR Weekly that Thai AirAsia’s decision to end its Singapore flights would hurt tourism in Chiang Mai. He noted that Silk Air still served the route and if there was demand it would justify more flights.

Silk Air, the budget subsidiary of Singapore Airlines operates three  services weekly to Chiang Mai.

Tourism executives in the North have argued that the airport needs to offer better incentives to airlines to land at the northern airport. They say cash discounts on airport fees would do more to encourage tourism than spending substantial budgets on advertisements and promotions.

Currently,  there is not much travel from either Macau or Hong Kong to Chiang Mai, but Mr Sarawut believes the service would encourage more residents in these two territories to travel.

Other airlines operating regional flights to Chiang Mai are: AirAsia, Air Bagan, China Airlines, China Easter Airlines, Korean Air and Lao Airlines.