By THE NATION
The fuel cost, he added, represents 40-50 per cent of total airline costs.
“Currently the tax is applied to domestic flights not international ones,” he said. “I would like the Ministry of Finance to consider lowering the aviation fuel tax, which will ultimately help promote domestic tourism, complementing government’s policy of using tourism to drive the economy.”
Pipat added that the demand for airport slots is another problem that needs immediate attention, especially at Suvarnabhumi, Don Muang, Phuket and Chiang Mai, which have clustered flights all year long. “We are planning to talk to airlines in an attempt to persuade them to disperse their flights to less crowded airports such as Hat Yai, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen, Chiang Rai and Surat Thani,” he said. “These airports have the capability to handle large planes like the Airbus A320, so there shouldn’t be any problem.”
“Meanwhile, airports in non-major cities in the South such as Trang, Ranong and Chumphon may need to expand their runways to accommodate international flights as the demand of chartered flights from China is increasing continually,” said Pipat. “Currently Chinese airlines book over 20,000 seats per month but the traffic leading to and from Suvarnabhumi Airport is heavily congested, preventing us to receive all of them, which is a shame.”