Qatar Airways bets on the Phuket sandbox plan and has confirmed that flights to the tourist island would resume July 1.
The airline will operate four flights a week from Doha to Phuket starting next month. Besides, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, large aircraft capable of carrying a total of 254 passengers, would be used to run the flights, the company said in a statement issued Tuesday.
The plane would offer 22 seats in Business Class and 232 in Economy Class, the airline said.
Qatar Airways said it would operate a total of 16 weekly flights to Thailand, besides its 12 weekly flights to Bangkok, “providing connectivity for its passengers traveling from Europe, the Middle East and United States.” Flights will depart from Doha every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2:55 a.m. and arrive at Phuket International Airport at 1:30 p.m.
Return flights will leave the island at 2:30 a.m. on Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker praised Phuket’s tourism market, the turquoise waters of its beautiful beaches and Thai food, calling the island an ideal destination for a summer getaway or family trip.
“With the resumption of flights to Phuket, Qatar Airways marks a significant milestone in the recovery of international tourism,” he said.
Akbar Al Baker expressed pride to support the recovery of Thailand’s weakened tourism economy, calling the relaunch of flights from Qatar to Phuket a milestone in international tourism resurgence. “We are proud to have led the industry, setting the benchmark for safety, innovation and customer service throughout the pandemic,” he stated.
“We know many of our customers are eager to get back flying and return to some of their favorite holiday destinations, such as Phuket,” Akbar Al Baker went on.
“Famed for its many exotic beaches, family friendly atmosphere, turquoise waters and delicious local cuisine, Phuket is an ideal destination for a summer getaway. We look forward to working with our partners in Thailand to support the recovery of their tourism sector,” he added.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Civil Aviation Authority have been working on restrictions and procedures to reopen Phuket to foreign tourists.
National government officials and local authorities are confident that the island would open on July 1 despite an increase in COVID-19 infections since April and the slow vaccination rollout as the deadline to inoculate 70% of the population and achieve herd immunity gets closer.