Thai Air Asia to withdraw its services from port city


Visakhapatnam: Dealing one more blow to the city’s air connectivity, Thai Air Asia is likely to withdraw its Visakhapatnam-Bangkok flight from September 16. The low-cost airlines started its services from the city in December last year and operates thrice a week.
Sources said the withdrawal could be due to wrong revenue management. Any airline with an average load factor of more than 80% should never make losses but for wrong revenue management, sources said. “Thai Air Asia has to blame itself for selling round trip tickets for Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000. It also topped it up with free baggage for a few months,” said Vijay Mohan, president of Tours & Travels of AP.
“The airlines never understood the dynamics of the Indian travel system. More than 90 per cent of outbound travellers still depend on travel agents for booking flights but the airline preferred to give the low fare only to passengers who booked through their website directly and never gave the same fares to travel agents. Even when it was offering fares of Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000 to passengers directly, the agent fare for the same flight was around 13,000,” he added.
Thai Air Asia is the third international airlines to withdraw its flight from Vizag after Malindo Air and Sri Lankan Airlines. Alliance Air, operating services from Visakhapatnam to Vijaywada and Tirupati, had earlier withdrawn its services and changed its base to Hyderabad. However, the proposal for operating a new flight from Visakhapatnam to Vijayawada was rejected by the Navy.
Only 12-13 slots are available per hour at Visakhapatnam Airport, given its unidirectional runway. Moreover, Navy restrictions on flights from 6 pm to 10 pm make it difficult for new flights to come in because around 10 slots an hour are used for Navy operations and three for civilian movement, said sources.
O Naresh Kumar, vice-president of Andhra Pradesh Air Travellers Association (APATA), said, “The reduction of a number of flights over a period is disturbing. In the present scenario, there is a high demand for additional flights from the city. Due to restrictions on time slots, airlines are not willing to operate.”



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