Thursday, September 11, 2008

South Korean and Thai Airlines Cut Flights to Thailand

Thailand’s prolonged political crisis has forced South Korean and Thai Airlines to slash several routes between the two countries.

The Thai government imposed a state of emergency in Bangkok last week in the wake of clashes between opposing political protestors. 

In light of Thailand’s political situation, South Korea has issued a travel warning for tourists considering a visit to the country which has resulted in a sharp fall in tourists from South Korea.

Thai budget carrier, SkyStar Airways Co., decided on Sunday to cancel its six weekly Phuket-Incheon flights and two Phuket-Busan weekly flights until September 21. 

South Korea's largest carrier, Korean Air Lines Co. on Sunday implemented a four-day reduction of its daily Bangkok-Incheon flights from two to one.

Asiana Airlines Inc., the smaller of South Korea's two major carriers, will cut flights of the same route, which normally operates two flights four days a week, to one each day until Monday next week.

Kim Jang-soo, head of Korean Air's Bangkok branch, said the airline “has to cut the regular flights due to a decline in the number of passengers resulting from the Thai political situation, as well as the off-season”.

The two South Korean airlines, however, have maintained operations of their flights linking South Korea to Phuket, Chiang Mai and other Thai resort areas.

Chief of Asiana's Bangkok office, Kim Jong-gil said, “The travel warning has prompted South Korean travel agencies to stop selling tourist products involving Thailand."

"The load factor of the Phuket-Incheon route has fallen to 30 per cent to 40 per cent." he added.

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