Nok Air will launch the first direct flight between Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani, 17 January 2018.
Using a Q400 aircraft the airline will introduce a three weekly service to connect the two major towns in northeast Thailand.
The airline’s research showed there was high car traffic between the two cities; a cross-country trip that can take around six hours to complete.
The alternative is the inter-city air-conditioned bus service, but private bus companies that operate intercity services have a poor road safety record.
At present, travellers resident in Udon who intend to visit Ubon are forced to fly south to Bangkok and then connect with a second flight east to Ubon.
Travellers have to buy two sector fares, one from Udon to Bangkok (THB1,539) and the second from Bangkok to Ubon (THB1,799).
Flight time is just one hour for each sector, but the downtime connecting between flights is a minimum of two hours and 40 minutes. Total travel time is around 4 hours and 40 minutes. Total cost for the one-way journey is THB3,338.
In contrast, flight distance between Udon and Ubon airports is 325 km with an estimated flight time of around 40 minutes once there is a direct flight.
Nok Air’s latest route addition is not available for bookings online until next week when the airline will announce details of promotional fares.
However, based on the 325 km flight distance it should be around THB1,500 one-way, about the same as a flight from Bangkok to Phitsanulok (319 km). On that route, Nok Air quotes a fare of THB 1,499.99 with bag allowance, or as low as THB699 for a promotional no-frills fare with no check-in luggage.
Udon Thani is a major town in the upper northeast region, just 100 km south of the border with Laos and the Friendship Bridge checkpoint on the Mekong River that separates the two countries. Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is 20 km upstream from the international checkpoint bridge.
Ubon Ratchathani is in lower northeast Thailand around 80 km west of the border with Laos and 140 km from Pakse on the Mekong River and largest town in southern Laos.
Udon Thani International Airport is one of Nok Air’s hubs, which helps the airline to launch a new direct flight to Ubon.
Nok Air’s chief executive officer, Piya Yodmani said: “We see demand and potential to fly from Udon Thani to Ubon Ratchathani…we believe that our service will meet travel needs and benefit passengers in the northeast region by making travel across the region more convenient.”
Tickets for the direct flight services between Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani will go on sale from 19 December. The service will launch 17 January 2018 with three flights weekly, operated by Q400 aircraft.
Nok Air currently operates direct flights between Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport and Udon Thani with six flights daily and seven flights daily to Ubon Ratchathani.