Mr. Somchainuk Engtrakul, Member of the Board of Directors Acting as President, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited, said that the company has conducted successful operations on the route Bangkok – Chittagong, Bangladesh, since rerouting was conducted from Bangkok – Chiang Mai – Chittagong to operate instead on the route Chiang Mai – Bangkok – Chittagong, effective since October 2005 onwards.
In the first year operating this route, the company supported promotion of Chiang Mai as a medical care center, whereby people from Chittagong would travel to Chiang Mai for medical services. In addition, the company promoted the shipment of commercial cargo to and from Chittagong and Bangkok, as well as agricultural cargo such as vegetable and fresh fruits from Chiang Mai and Bangkok to Chittagong. Therefore, the cargo market grew substantially at a higher rate on a gradual basis by 68% in year 2005. The company currently has plans to expand its cargo market by changing to a larger capacity cargo aircraft in order to facilitate the amount of cargo shipment that increased in the Summer Schedule 2006.
The company has also received approval from the Bangladesh Cabinet to manage Chittagong’s Shah Amanat International Airport, in Chittagong, Bangladesh, for a period of 10 years. THAI was awarded the bid at the net amount of 529 million taka or approximately 379 million Thai baht (USD 9.063 million dollars), with airport management to begin as of March 2006 onwards.
Currently, THAI operates three flights per week to Chittagong, Bangladesh, with flights operated on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, utilizing Boeing 737-400 aircraft. In the Summer Schedule 2006 (April – September 2006), every Wednesday, the company will fly to Chittagong utilizing Airbus 300-600 instead of the Boeing 737-400 in order to facilitate growing cargo demands.
Furthermore, the company has plans to promote Chiang Mai as a center of education, export products, and other markets, supporting Chiang Mai as the region’s transport and commercial center.
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