Bangkok Airways Siem Reap monopoly smashed

Welcome to another plane-load of passengers arriving at Siem Reap. THIK KALIYANN
Welcome to another plane-load of passengers arriving at Siem Reap. THIK KALIYANN

Bangkok Airways Siem Reap monopoly smashed

Earthbound Siem Reap expats will shortly be able to fly high – and relatively cheaply – due to Bangkok Airway’s monopoly on the Siem Reap-Bangkok route being smashed with the entry into the market of Thai AirAsia.

The airline will begin its daily flight on the Siem Reap-Bangkok and return route on October 1, and has already kicked off a promotional fare campaign with flights starting from as little as Baht 999, or $32 one-way, including all taxes. This price is available until July 24, allowing passengers to fly until August 5 next year.

Once the promotion has finished, AirAsia will continue to sell affordable seats on the route at Baht1, 599 net, or $51.50 one way.

This is great news for all Siem Reapers who like to flit over to Bangkok for a weekend jaunt – it’s now affordable and will remain so.

On Wednesday Travel Daily News commented, “It has been the complaint of everyone, travel industry or travellers. Fares on the route Bangkok-Siem Reap from “boutique” carrier Bangkok Airways – as it liked itself to be called – were judged far too high. On average, a return ticket on the regional carrier is priced at over Baht10, 000 ($325) for the 300 kilometre route.”

Travel Daily News also noted that a check on Bangkok Airways website revealed that the best available fare for a flight booked on August 16 with a return on August 18 out of Bangkok, was a “shocking” Baht12,970, or $417.

Little wonder then that industry experts have observed that growth in the Siem Reap-Bangkok route over the last five years can be best described as “marginal.”

But Thai AirAsia expects its flights on the route to be about 80 per cent full, which means it will flying in about 300,000-500,000 passengers annually.

Thai AirAsia ceo Tassapon Bijleveld told journalists on Monday that the new route will be his low-cost airline's sixth destination in the region, and that he views the new Siem Reap route as helping to strengthen the airline’s regional flight network while also supporting the formation of the Asean Economic Community, which opens in 2015.

Meanwhile, Cambodia Angkor Air listed the fare on the same route as $217 – much better than Bangkok Airways, but still an expensive fare for such a short flight.

And of course Bangkok Airways promptly launched its own promotion, selling tickets at Baht7, 450 ($240), not including airport and other fees. Bookings will be accepted until September 30 for flights until March 31next year.

In other airline news, Vietnam Airlines is now operating a daily route direct from Siem Reap to Da Nang and return. Flight time is two and half hours, and Vietnam Airlines has announced this week that it is offering “special discounts” on ticket prices from now until December 31.

In a press release the airline said, “Passengers will have the chance to receive a 50 per cent discount on the normal price.”

To work out deals and to book, visit VietnamAirlinesTickets.com, then search for route Da Nang- Siem Reap.

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