Mr. Vasing Kittikul, Thai Airways International’s Executive Vice President, Commercial recently chaired a press conference to announce Thais launch of direct flights on the route Bangkok - Johannesburg. Thai Airways International Public Company Limited will be operating three weekly direct flights on the route Bangkok - Johannesburg v.v., utilizing Boeing B777-200ER aircraft, effective as of 31st October 2006 onwards.
Mr. Vasing Kittikul, THAI’s Executive Vice President for Commercial said the new service is a part of THAI’s long-haul business strategy, following the recent opening of direct flights to New York, Moscow and Los Angeles. He also added that the route would be the first direct service from Thailand to South Africa, taking 11 hours flying with a B777-200ER aircraft, capable of accommodating 292 seats (30 Royal Silk Class and 262 Economy Class).
THAI will operate three flights a week on the route Bangkok - Johannesburg vv as follows: Flight TG703, Bangkok to Johannesburg, will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, departing from Bangkok at 00.15 hours and landing at the Johannesburg International Airport at 06.20 hours the same day. Flight TG 704, Johannesburg to Bangkok, will also operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, departing from Johannesburg at 13.45 hours and arriving in Bangkok the day after at 05.45 hours.
With such a schedule, THAI is able to offer passengers convenient flight connections from Australia and also within South Africa with THAI’s codeshare with South African Airways. Mr. Vasing Kittikul said that THAI expected to attract travelers to Johannesburg from China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Philippines and Australia. On return journeys, THAI will serve travelers from South Africa and its neighboring countries. He also said the number of travelers between both countries had gradually increased, placing Thailand as one of the most popular destinations among South Africans, while many Asian tourists are eager to visit South Africa.
Business travelers from South Africa and countries nearby will be one of the focused market, especially traders involved in the bulk purchasing business, usually coming to China from many parts of the African continent. THAI also plans to boost outbound leisure traffic from Johannesburg to Thailand and/or Asian regional destinations with inclusive Royal Orchid Holiday packages. Other market segments served by the route include passengers willing to visit family and relatives on both continents.
Passengers travelling inbound into Johannesburg will find interest in leisure travel through adventure tourism such as wildlife viewing and trekking, but also with the city’s cultural heritage and attractions, as well as with the wide range of nature tourism opportunities offered.
Johannesburg is the third most popular city in Africa, with more than 3 million inhabitants and a land area of 1,644 square kilometers. The region surrounding the city has been inhabited for millions of years, as Sterkfontein Caves, to the northwest, have revealed a 3.3 million-year old hominid skeleton.
Johannesburg is known as a tourist destination and a transit point for connecting flights. Consequently, most international visitors pass trough the city, which has contributed to the development of more attractions for tourists. These include museums such as the Apartheid or Hector Pierson museum. Amusement parks are also a large draw for tourists with the Gold Reef City, and the Johannesburg Zoo. The Cradle of Humankind, UNESCO’s World Heritage Site also stands within 25 km from the city.