BANGKOK, 18 January 2018: The good news for residents in northeast Thailand is travel between the region’s two big towns got easier now that Nok Air flies a direct service.
In the past, travelling between Udon Thani, near the border with Laos in upper northeast Thailand and Ubon Ratchathani, in the lower northeast, required a roundabout routing via Bangkok.
The two-sector fare trip increased the travel cost and often extended what should have been a one-hour flight direct to around five hours with a change of plane in Bangkok.
Apart from a flight time of one hour, there are savings on the fare. The roundtrip fare, Udon to Ubon, costs approximately THB1,500. This compares with the roundabout roundtrip fare Udon-Bangkok-Ubon of THB2,500.
The flight distance between Udon and Ubon airports is just 326 km, hence the one-hour flight time.
To illustrate how direct flights cut costs and time, the flight distance from Udon to Bangkok is 465 km and from Ubon to Bangkok 476 km. Travellers were forced to embark on a 941 km journey between two destinations that are only 326 km apart.
That should be food for thought for airlines that are wasting fuel and also for travellers who suffer inconvenience when travelling across Thailand.
The inaugural flight DD9011 departed from Udon Thani International Airport 1105 on Wednesday and arrived in Ubon Ratchathani at 1205.
Nok Air uses the Bombardier Q400 turboprop with 86 seats on the route, and initially will offer just three weekly services.
It represents the airline’s move to tap inter-provincial air traffic demand and could if successfully quickly upgrade to daily flight. The cities are two of the largest in the Northeast and gateways for travellers heading for Laos and Cambodia.
Nok Air’s chief executive officer, Piya Yodmani said: “We see the demand and potential in Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani destinations – we believe that our service will accommodate the travel needs and benefit passengers in the Northeast region to conveniently travel between the cities.”
With the new Udon Thani-Ubon Ratchathani connection, the airline will fly to 25 domestic destinations.