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Ah, the Horse is not Dead!

Hector · 9 · 413

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Online Hector

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Precis'd from The Bkk Post today:
“Commercial flights will resume at Nakhon Ratchasima airport in August after years of suspension because of low demand for seats. Nok Air would operate two return flights a week to Chiang Mai from Aug 2 with flights on Saturdays and Tuesdays and the fare at 2,100 baht.  Eight airlines had previously terminated services at the airport because actual traffic volume was only 70-80 people a flight. Korat governor Wichian Chantharanothai said officials had made a study to determine actual demand (sic).  The airport is about 30 kilometres east of the city centre and it was opened in 1997 with a passenger terminal, which can handle up to 300 passengers per hour.”
Interesting!  It's like flogging a dead horse: the airport is miles from the city and there is no dedicated transport route; one wonders how the officials were able to determine ACTUAL demand; who will be the main users - tourists, locals, business people?  If demand has always been low, what has changed?
While I am all in favour of a decent commercial route from Korat to the north without having to do a 10-12 hour road trip (there is no rail link that doesn't go via Bkk), I give it about as much chance of success as Betong International Airport.  Still, one has to give Nok Air full marks for trying.


Online Roger

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Interesting Hector.

A regular daily service to Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang would make great sense IMO but then, it might be argued that Korat is too far out of the City to enable a connection that way to improve on the 3 hour journey time by car.

A service to Chiang Mai is a fab idea with a good time saving, but there won't be many business travelers to sustain that route ? Thus the 'lack of demand' and the 8 previous failures  :(

If the airport had been put 5km west of Korat the story might have been different ? Maybe the addition of a freight service integral with the passenger service would improve viability ?

But there we are.
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Offline rdrokit

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The Korat public air terminal use to be at Wing 1 before they built the current terminal. They should look at putting it back there.


Online Robert

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The Korat public air terminal use to be at Wing 1 before they built the current terminal. They should look at putting it back there.

Rdrokit: Hey, hey only if the military planes from Wing 1 switch to that 465.000.000 build airport 30 km outside the city. Otherwise a lot of money will be thrown away. Ok, I live too close to Wing 1 to be objective in this matter  ;D ;D ;D

Roger: airport 30 km outside city, travel time around 45 minutes. Be at airport around minimum of 60 minturs before departure. Flying time to Don Muang approx. 30 minutes. So total travelling time around 2 hours and 15 minutes in total. Than look at the price of flying compared to price to be paid for by bus. To be honest I think not enough Thai people would use this service. The population of non-Thai using this service is too small, so Korat-Bangkok cannot  be a profitable connection IMHO.



Online Roger

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RDRO I agree 100% with that. Brymon Airways did as much 50 years ago, flying from RAF St Mawgan (Nr Newquay, Cornwall), several times daily to LHR - it was brilliant. I believe they started with a 'Dart Herald' and later with 'Dash 7, Dash 8' aircraft, which I think were used later to fly into the London City airport.

Nok Air could easily open at Wing 1 and it would add minimally to the noise/traffic inconvenience in the area.

Robert I was suggesting flying from west of Korat, say Wing 1 as RDRO moots, and connecting to Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang for a start - could be handy for flight connections outwards and for freight movements abroad too. I wasn't suggesting the service would be competing with local bus PAX. Worth a try IMO and far better without the drag to the existing airport.
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Robert

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Hi Roger,

as I only have 41 years experience in airline business I just gave my opinion about flying from Korat to Bangkok (and return). Flying from RAF St Mawgan (Nr Newquay, Cornwall would indeed be great for local people who have more money to spend than the local Thai. Furthermore what will happen when highway number 6 is ready or the high speed railway? I have flown in 12 seater planes in New Zealand for instance from Auckland to Napier. But again the market and oppertunities in New Zealand and the Uk is much better than in Thailand. For just one hour time advantage compared to the much high airfare I think majority of Thai will choose the bus. The route Korat to Bangkok has been tried but all stopped due to costs versus profit. Anyway will see what will happen with the flight from Korat to ChiangRai.


Online Roger

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Hi Robert. Starting with Hector, a few here doubt that routes from the existing Airport will ever succeed. But wishing Nok Air good luck !

I wonder if there will ever be commercial flights from Wing 1. Personally, I think a venture would have a better chance from there. It's ideal, except for local residents of course   ;)

ATB
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Coolkorat

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I agree with Robert: from the perspective of travelling to BKK the rail link will open with subsidized fares (to create demand). I can't see the military relocating, however sensible the decision - there must be significant politics at play. And the new road will presumably trim 30 minutes+ from the bus journey making it almost bearable. To CM: is there enough demand? Would flights to some of the islands make more sense?


Online Roger

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Hi CK. IMO flights to the Islands would be even less viable than the Nok Air flights to Chiang Mai which are likely  be failure number 9 on the route are they not ?

The military are not required to relocate - they stay - Nok Air to fly from Wing 1 too. It's easy - works at St Mawgan.

Re. the route Wing 1 to BKK - a day trip to BKK becomes easier for business movers, international travel with luggage booked right through, quick access to central BKK - invest M8  ;)

All good fun. ATB
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein