Landarch Airlines plans to start offering flights early next year from Hat Yai to southern cities including Betong, where a new airport has seen little traffic since it opened last year.
According to local media reports, executives of the airline met recently with tourism and local administrative authorities in Narathiwat province to discuss its plans.
It proposes to operate flights with 12-seater Cessna Grand Caravan planes from Hat Yai airport in Songkhla province to Betong airport in Yala from early next year.
The airline also intends to fly to other destinations including Phuket, Krabi, Trang, Narathiwat, Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Jakara Thongchim, director of the airline, outlined the plan in talks with Nawaporn Chuachomket, director of the Narathiwat office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Executives of the airline also visited Kuseng Yawohasan, president of the Narathiwat provincial administrative organisation.
The airline is in a process of seeking an operating licence from the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand. It plans to operate flights that would take about an hour to destinations in the far South and to expand its services to Malaysia later.
The airline belongs to wholly Thai-owned M-Landarch Co which is the local representative of US-based Textron Aviation Co, the maker of Cessna airplanes.
Nok Air was the first airline to fly to Betong airport on March 14 last year. It stopped the service on Oct 28, saying it was losing money on the route. Betong airport has been quiet since.
The airport, built at a cost of 1.6 billion baht, opened in March last year. It has one 1,800-metre runway that can be used by smaller turboprop aircraft, such as ATR-72s and Bombardier Q-400s. Its passenger terminal covering 7,000 square metres is capable of handling up to 300 passengers an hour or 800,000 a year.
Prior to the airport’s opening, the district was only reachable by road which cuts through mountains.