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The airline has taken delivery of its first new ATR 72-600 turboprop aircraft, which will now be stationed in Hat Yai, allowing Thai Lion to inaugurate a new range of domestic and international routes.
From 21 March 2014, the airline will start offering five weekly flights (Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays) to the Thai resort town of Hua Hin, and three weekly flights (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) to Surat Thani – the gateway to the resort islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Both of these routes will mark the first ever direct air connections between these towns.
And then from 6 April 2014, Thai Lion will launch its first international flights from Hat Yai, connecting twice a week (Fridays and Sundays) to the Indonesian city of Medan and four times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays) to Subang, near Kuala Lumpur.
“We chose Hat Yai to be our second hub because it is a gateway into southern Thailand and we know that many people want to travel to southern Thailand for business and leisure. There are a lot of popular holiday destinations in southern Thailand [and] we will also be encouraging Thais to explore neighbouring countries, namely Indonesia and Malaysia,” said Andi Burhan, executive managing director of Thai Lion Air.
Thai Lion has already received regulatory approval from Thailand’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) to operate the new domestic and international routes. They will add to the airline’s existing operations from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport to Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Jakarta and KL.
“Having the ATR allows us to operate to smaller cities and towns in Thailand and develop a more comprehensive domestic network,” Burhan added.
The largest city in southern Thailand, Hat Yai is located close to the border with Malaysia.