Bangkok Airways stands apart in Southeast Asia as a full-service carrier serving only regional routes. Launched in 1968 under the name of Krungthep Sahakol Co. Ltd., the carrier has been a pioneer for tourism by being the first foreign carrier to link Bangkok to Koh Samui, Siem Reap, Luang Prabang and recently Phu Quoc and Nha Trang. After Bangkok, the airline is now increasingly linking Chiang Mai to destinations in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
The airline was at the beginning only equipped with turbo-propeller aircraft with limited capacities. The airline officially launched its first scheduled flights in 1986 between Bangkok and domestic destinations.
However, success came with the inauguration of the first route between Bangkok and the resort island of Koh Samui where Bangkok Airways built the airport.
Bangkok Airways ATR72 started at Luang Prabang airport in the early 1990s, and the carrier started to develop regional connections to Thailand neighbouring countries.
Bangkok Airways at Luang Prabang Airport
The carrier was the first international airline to fly to Siem Reap/Angkor. The route was followed by many more exclusive routes from Bangkok to Lampang, Sukhothai, and Trat in Thailand, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar, Luang Prabang in Laos and recently Phu Quoc as well as Cam Ranh/Nha Trang.
In the early 1990s, the carrier even dreamed to become the airline of UNESCO World Heritage cities in the Mekong basin.
The idea of offering non-stop flights from Bangkok to prestigious world heritage destinations has still not been abandoned by the carrier, which hopes to be able to launch services from Bangkok to Bagan in Myanmar or to fly in the near future to Hue in Vietnam -although Hue is relatively close to Danang that Bangkok Airways already flies.
From March 1, Bangkok Airways will boost capacity on the Bangkok-Danang route, offering two daily flights.
The carrier adopted its new brand slogan back to 2004, calling itself an ‘Asia’s Boutique Airline”, taking the opposite way to low-cost carriers in the region.
Bangkok Airways guarantees to all its guests free luggage, free meals on board on all its flights and lounge access to all passengers in the largest airports it serves.
It also offers web check-in since 2008. Passengers flying in the equivalent of its business class Blue Ribbon benefit from dedicated check-in counters, access to a premium lounge and have onboard larger seats as well as a special meal.
The airline has a fleet of 4 ATR 72-500s, 11 ATR 72-600s, 16 Airbus A319s, and 9 Airbus A320s. It also owns Koh Samui, Sukhothai and Trat airports.
Flights from Chiang Mai
New flights from Chiang Mai turn the City into a secondary hub for the Mekong region
The carrier operates out of four major air gateways, namely Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, and Phuket.
Bangkok Airways network covers 29 destinations around Asia stretching as far as Hong Kong in Northeast Asia and Male in South Asia. Bangkok alone is linked to 21 destinations followed by Koh Samui with flights to eight destinations and Chiang Mai with nine destinations.
The airline is adding from March 31 Chiang Mai-Krabi with three weekly flights in an Airbus A319 (daily from April 30, 2019). On April 2, the airline will launch a three-weekly service between Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang in Laos with a 70-seater ATR 72-600 aircraft.
Routes from Thailand
From Thailand, Bangkok Airways serves the following routes in the Greater Mekong Sub-region:
- Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Koh Samui, Krabi, Lampang, Phuket, Sukhothai, Trat, Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Phu Quoc, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Phnom Penh, and Siem Reap.
- Chiang Mai to Bangkok, Koh Samui, Krabi, Mae Hong Son, Phuket, Hanoi, Luang Prabang, Mandalay, Yangon.
- Koh Samui to Bangkok, Krabi, Phuket, U Tapao/Pattaya.
- Phuket to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Koh Samui, U Tapao/Pattaya.
The carrier also offers flights to Hong Kong, Male, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore.