Phuket Air

Phuket Air

Phuket Air (Phuket Airlines Co. Ltd) is an airline based in Bangkok, Thailand. The airline currently specialises in leasing its fleet of Boeing 747 and 737 aircraft on an ACMI (Aircraft, Crews, Maintenance, Insurance) /wet lease basis to airlines worldwide needing extra passenger capacity. Other services provided include international charter services, ad-hoc wet leasing services, religious pilgrimage charters (Hajj/Umrah) and dry lease services. Saudi Arabian Airlines is a major long term client of Phuket Air. In the past, the airline provided scheduled domestic and international air services. Its main base is at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok, with a hub at Phuket International Airport, Phuket. The airline was an international scheduled carrier before it shifted its focus to the ACMI/wet lease market.

History

The airline was established in 1999 and started operations on December 19, 2001 with two Boeing 737-200 aircraft bought from Garuda Indonesia. It is owned and operated by Vikrom Aisiri and his wife Angkana Apiwattanaporn. Aisiri is a Thai businessman and senator from Ranong who also owns the Andaman Club Hotel & Casino in Myanmar and a Dusit Island resort hotel in Chiang Rai Province. Phuket Air flew domestic routes to Phuket, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Ranong and Mae Sot. Ranong operations were used by tourists visiting the Andaman Club Hotel & Casino, across the border in Myanmar.

The airline rapidly expanded, adding Boeing 747-200, Boeing 747-300, NAMC YS-11 turbo-prop and Boeing 757-200 aircraft to its fleet. In addition to flying several domestic routes, Phuket Air undertook international routes to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Dubai, Dhaka, Chittagong, Yangon and Incheon. The airline also operated charter flights to Bangkok and Phuket for tour operators from Kuala Lampur, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, Jakarta and Manila. Phuket Air also operated Hajj and Umrah charter flights to Jeddah from Indonesia, Philippines and Bangladesh. It also operated charter flights from Japan to Kuwait for the Japanese Iraq Reconstruction and Support Group.

Under strain from a downturn in the tourism industry after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, and struggles to maintain its fleet of ageing aircraft, Phuket Airlines was plagued by poor service and safety concerns. Also the EU blacklisted the airline, banning it from flying to Europe. By the end of 2005, Phuket Air had scaled back its operations, laid off hundreds of its employees and decided to concentrate on leasing its aircraft to other carriers. Domestic services ceased on 12 September 2005.

In 2005-2006 Hajj season, Phuket Airlines provided B747-200/300 aircraft on a short term wet lease to Saudi Arabian Airlines. The carrier commissioned Air France Industries, the aircraft maintenance-service arm of the French flag carrier, to help lift Phuket Airlines' safety standards.. In late 2006-07, the airline flew charters for the Saudi Arabia's Ministry of the Interior flying out deportees. On the 6 March 2007, the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, removed Phuket Air of Thailand from its list of blacklisted airline after they complied with their stringent safety audits and inspections. Phuket Air has been one of the first few airlines to achieve this . In October 2007, Phuket Airlines resumed operations and provided 3 B747-200/300 aircraft to Saudi Arabian Airlines on a short term ACMI/wet lease contract for the Hajj charters.

In February 2008, Saudia offered a long term renewable annual ACMI contract with 4 B747-200/300 aircraft and options for additional aircraft. The aircraft currently based in Jeddah operate international scheduled flights. They will also operate religious charter flights (Umrah and Hajj) for Saudia.. Reportedly the contract was offered to Phuket Air, after their competitor Air Atlanta Icelandic could not manage the contract to Saudia's satisfaction when it was given to them during 2006-2007. Also Air Atlanta has decided to shift their focus from passengers to Air Cargo ACMI projects. This has opened up the passenger ACMI market and Phuket Air is in the process of negotiating new ACMI/wet lease contracts.

Destinations

As of February 2006, Phuket Air maintained one domestic route between Bangkok and Ranong and an international tour-package flight from Bangkok to Yangon, Myanmar. As of starting summer schedule 2006, Phuket Air does not offer scheduled flights anymore. As an ACMI operator for Saudia, Phuket air operates some of their scheduled international flights in Middle East and to destinations in North Africa, South and South East Asia.

Fleet

The Phuket Air fleet consists of the following aircraft

Past aircraft operated on dry lease by Phuket Air

External links

References

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