Chinese New Year influx

Chinese New Year influx

Over 200 flights from China tipped for hols

About 240 direct flights are expected to fly from China to Thailand during the Chinese New Year holiday, according to the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (Aerothai).

Aerothai president Noppasit Chakpitak said yesterday that Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has instructed all related agencies to ensure they are prepared to handle the influx of Chinese tourists during the Chinese New Year period between Jan 19 and 25.

There are expected to be 240 flights, or 34 per day on average. Of the total, 75 flights will land at Suvarnabhumi Airport, 52 at Don Mueang Airport, 78 at Phuket Airport and 35 at Chiang Mai Airport.

The number of flights from China for this month is expected to reach 1,160, which is lower than the pre-pandemic level in January 2019 of 12,209.

However, in light of China’s reopening, the number of flights from the country is expected to rapidly rise to 36,896 this year, an increase of 227.6% from 2022, Mr Noppasit said.

Given the increase, Aerothai has stepped up air traffic management measures by participating in flight slot allocation committees to ensure airports’ capacities can accommodate flight volumes efficiently, as well as issue air traffic management guidelines.

Earlier, Kittipong Kittikachorn, director of Suvarnabhumi airport, said some 1.81 million visitors, 1.36 million of whom are international visitors, or about 139,938 passengers on average a day, are expected to land and depart from the airport between Jan 16 and 28.

Mr Kittipong said that ten airlines have asked to increase their flights during the Chinese New Year period. He said a total of 86 flights were requested, 26 of which were requested by T’way Air, 24 flights by Jeju Air and ten flights by Xiamen Airlines.

In response to the growing number of Chinese tourists, the airport has Chinese interpreters on hand to assist.

The airport also launched a welcome video to create a positive first impression among tourists around the arrival terminal in eight languages — Thai, English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, German and Indian, Mr Kittipong added.

Meanwhile, celebrations for the Chinese New Year kicked off in Huai Khwang district and Yaowarat Road in Samphanthawong district on Thursday night.

Paitoon Ngammuk, Huai Khwang district chief, said the celebration included a traditional lion dance that led a large parade on both sides of Pracharat Bamphen Road, which is considered a new Chinatown in Bangkok.

This is the first Chinese New Year event jointly carried out by the district office, related government agencies, the private sector and locals, to highlight Thai and Chinese cultural integration so as to spur the economy and tourism sector, Mr Paitoon said.

Wattanasak Sur-iam, director-general of the Department of Internal Trade, said the department had controlled the price gouging of food ingredients needed for Chinese New Year rites, except for imported goods, after monitoring markets on Yaowarat Road.

The Ministry of Commerce has also cooperated with 240 business operators to distribute goods, such as chickens, at an affordable price, he said.

The price of mandarin oranges, an important fruit for Chinese New Year, may rise slightly as it is near the end of the harvest season, he added.

Meanwhile, Wu Zhiwu, Consul-General of China in Chiang Mai, extended his best wishes to Thais and overseas Chinese in the northern regions while saying he will continue to work on strengthening bilateral ties in the future.