Nepal is, no doubt, a tourism destination for everyone. Even Thai people love to come here because of Nepal’s beautiful sceneries and diverse culture.
Thai Airways, which started its first flight to Nepal on December 4, 1968, has completed its fifty years of operation here in Nepal, and to celebrate the same, the airline is coming up with different promotional activities and growth plans.
Fr!day spoke to Mr. Peerapong Jutaganoon, General Manager, Thai Airways, about the future plans and challenges faced by Thai Airways in the country.
What are your plans for growth in the future?
We plan to promote our fifty years anniversary, and we want to make it grand and better for next year. We have planned to increase three more flights, because of increasing market demand from March onwards, approximately. The information about this will be launched very soon (maybe in January). Apart from this, we have also planned to organize different CSR activities. We will cooperate with Miss Nepal, as well, to promote these activities, such as visiting schools to deliver something productive to them. We have also decided to provide promotional fare for Nepalis, because we know that most of them love to go to Thailand. Though it comes with additional benefit, our ticket fare might be little expensive for them, since we are a premium network airline. So, we’ve decided to provide special promotion in ticket fare. For example, we can give discount up to 50% to celebrate our 50 years anniversary, which will last for a week or two. It can be a very good opportunity for air customers.
How has been your experience in working with Nepal’s aviation industry?
I am here from December 2015, just after the earthquake. Before, I was appointed in China, which was quite different from here. Initially, I found it difficult to work, as the situation was not good because of the earthquake. However, it was a new experience for me, and after I got used to the environment it became interesting. We work very close with every airline and with government officials. We get very good cooperation from each one of them, especially from the officials of Tribhuvan International Airport.
How is Thai Airways trying to promote Nepal as a tourism destination?
Nepal is, no doubt, a tourism destination for everyone. Even Thai people love to come here because of Nepal’s beautiful sceneries and diverse culture. People here in Nepal are so kind that people from around the globe are interested to visit Nepal. So, it’s not that difficult for us to promote Nepal as a tourism destination. We keep on advertising about Nepal’s tourism sector in Thailand’s media from time to time. We also try to promote flights to Nepal through promotional ticket fares and do many promotions in Thailand’s market.
How important is Kathmandu a destination for the Thai Airways network?
Kathmandu is one of the most important routes in the Thai Airways network. We started our operation in Nepal from December 4, 1968, and have completed our fifty years. Thai Airways itself has completed fifty-seven years, and just within six-seven years, we started operating in Nepal. This indicates how important Kathmandu isfor our network. Most of our passengers love to come to Nepal. There is also close affinity between Thai Airways and Nepal’s authorities. There are also lots of Nepalis who like to go to Bangkok. And, not only Bangkok, but they are getting globalized, and we have got a good chance to serve that kind of market.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your operations in Nepal?
Though Nepal’s market is not that big, it is changing very fast. We have got many competitors here, and they are moving at a rapid pace. For example, if they want to launch some promotional fare, increase any flight, or fly to some route that we fly, they do it very fast. So, I think this is most challenging for us, and we need to adjust ourselves pretty fast with them.
Do you feel that Kathmandu airport has been a limitation to your further growth?
I feel the biggest problem here in Tribhuvan International Airport is that we cannot land in time. TIA being a small airport, most often our airline has to be on hold in the air because of the lack in parking space. We spend ten minutes to even forty minutes sometimes holding our airlines in the air, due to which lot of money goes off in the fuel. To minimize our cost, we carry two tanks of fuel from Bangkok so that we could minimize our cost. Winter being the peak season for most airlines, the traffic is also very congested in the air, and we keep on holding our flights in the air waiting for the signal.I feel TIA needs to rearrange schedules to make it properly managed, so that the airlines can fly conveniently.
Your last words?
As the official carrier of Thailand, we are proud to operate our flights between Nepal and Thailand. Please keep following us, and I assure we’ll do many activities and make it even better and more convenient.