Bangkok Airways is set to become the third Thai airline to offer regular flights from Bangkok to Mandalay on Sept 15, joining competitors Thai AirAsia (TAA) and Thai Smile.
The privately owned carrier will initially offer four flights per week on the route before ramping up frequencies to daily on Oct 27 to tap stronger demand in the high season, said airline officials.
Its entry will intensify the contest for the second-most important route between Thailand and Myanmar after Bangkok-Yangon, which is served frequently by several Thailand-based airlines including Bangkok Airways, TAA, Thai Airways International (THAI) and other international operators. Bangkok Airways released details of its Mandalay service yesterday, which will depart from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport on a 144-seat Air Bus 319 jetliner.
The flights will be on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, departing from Bangkok at 12 noon and arriving at 1.20pm local time.
The return flight will leave at 2.10pm, landing in Bangkok at 4.35pm.
The low-cost carrier TAA operates a daily flight from Bangkok's Don Mueang airport to Mandalay, while Thai Smile, part of THAI, offers four flights weekly from Suvarnabhumi on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Bangkok Airways is offering a promotional Bangkok-Mandalay round-trip fare starting at 3,790 baht exclusive of airport tax and fuel surcharges, valid for travel to Nov 30.
A TAA executive yesterday said the airline has no immediate plans to step up its Bangkok-Mandalay frequencies, but she confirmed the company's intention to commence regular flights to the capital Nay Pyi Taw from Don Mueang in the fourth quarter.
This article first appeared in the Bangkok Post on August 2, 2013.