Passengers debarking from the inaugural Kuala Lumpur-Hua Hin flight are welcomed at Hua Hin airport, Prachuap Khiri Khan, by Deputy Transport Minister Pailin Chuchottaworn, in white jacket, on Friday. (Transport Ministry photo)
PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN: Hua Hin airport began servicing regular fights for the first time on Friday as AirAsia launched its new service between Hua Hin and Kuala Lumpur with four direct flights a week.
The maiden flight landed at Hua Hin airport about 11am, an hour after departing Kuala Lumpur, with about 150 Malaysian passengers, both business people and tourists.
Until now Hua Hin airport has handled only chartered flights.
Deputy Transport Minister Pailin Chuchottaworn was on hand to welcome the inaugural flight.
He predicted a brighter future for Hua Hin airport, with connections to water transport and a high-speed railway.
AirAsia now operates four return flights a week on the Hua Hin-Kuala Lumpur route using Airbus 320 aircraft with 180 passenger seats.
Walailak Noypayak, Tourism Authority of Thailand’s executive director for Asean, South Asia and South Pacific, said the new flight service was expected to raise the number of visitors to Hua Hin from 3.3 million to 3.6 million yearly.
Malaysians were the second largest group of visitors to Thailand, after the Chinese, she added.