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Air transportation in Thailand - statistics & facts

Thailand is an important air travel hub in Asia, with good infrastructure to support its aviation sector. The first steps towards the sector’s growth started in 1910. Since then, Thailand has developed a blossoming air travel industry, with a continuous increase in air travel passengers throughout the years.

Air travel and logistics

Thailand is a popular destination for visitors from all over the world. The country was not only a popular tourist destination but also a hub for exhibitions and conferences. This called for development in the air passenger transport industry. However, like the rest of the world, Thailand also suffered from COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the aviation industry. In recent months, the total number of flights in Thailand amounted to a little over 200 thousand flights, which was a drastic difference to the usual circumstance. In the first quarter of 2021, Thailand’s air freight industry underwent a decrease in air freight volume when comparing to the same quarter of the previous year. In addition, the annual volume of freight and mail services in the country reduced to less than a million tons in 2020.

Preferred airlines in Thailand

Popular airlines among Thais were dominated by domestic carriers with few international brands. The top airlines included Thai Airways, Thai Lion Air, Bangkok Airways, AirAsia, Jetstar Asia, Qantas, Emirates, Etihad, Nok Air, and Orient Thai. Low-cost carriers have become a major source of growth in the aviation industry. This has pushed major airlines such as Thai Airways, to expand its range by launching a budget carrier, Thai Smile, to offer affordable flights. With immense air travel to and within Thailand, aircraft movement has shown continuous growth for the past decade, up until 2020.

Airports of Thailand

The first airport in Thailand was Sa Pathum airfield which was operated under the Ministry of Defense. Following this, Don Mueang airport was then opened for business and became a major hub for international travel in Thailand. Other notable airports in Thailand include Phuket International airport, Chiang Mai International Airport, Mae Fah Luang – Chiang Rai International Airport, and Hat Yai International Airport. Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok was then built to cater to a larger capacity and is now the most significant hub of air travel in Thailand. The discussion for a new airport began in 1960, and it was officially completed and fully operational for commercial purposes in 2006. Suvarnabhumi Airport, along with Phuket International Airport, were the top two airports for international carriers in Thailand, as they are located in the touristic hotspots Bangkok and Phuket.

The future of the air transportation industry in Thailand

Thailand has a well-developed aviation sector that meets the demands of both domestic and international passengers, as well as facilitating other logistical movements. As the industry had been showing continuous expansion, there had been efforts to increase the number of airports. This would have created more jobs and opportunities, both in the management of the airports, as well as increasing capacity for more travelers, thus benefitting the growing number of tourism businesses in Thailand. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of international visitors to Thailand has dramatically declined, causing a major contraction in the aviation sector.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 25 most important statistics relating to "Air transportation in Thailand ".


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