The Department of Airports (DOA) and Transport Co, Ltd Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish provincial feeder systems for passengers using all 28 of the department’s airports.

The MoU, effective from now until 2021 with the option for extension, was signed to establish better links between road and air transport systems, Transport Co, Ltd chief Jirasak Yaovatsakul said. According to him, these links will also be used to connect to popular tourist sites.

He said the first of these networks is a bus route from Udon Thani to Vang Vieng, a tourist destination located north of the Lao capital of Vientiane.

According to Transport Co, 44-seat air-conditioned buses will be used on the new service, tipped to begin before the end of the year, after operating licences for the route are given to the company.

The proposed route will begin at Udon Thani’s central bus station, located in Muang district. The bus will then head to the province’s airport, in the same district, to pick up more passengers.

According to Mr Jirasak, the route takes the bus from Udon Thani airport to Vang Vieng, through neighbouring Nong Khai, which borders Laos.

He said the entire 288km journey will take around seven hours, with tickets costing 320 baht per person.

“We will initially introduce only one bus service each way per day, as the route will be looked upon as a trial service under the MoU [with the DOA],” Mr Jirasak said. “If demand calls for more buses, they will be introduced accordingly.”

He said the bus will depart from Udon Thani’s central bus station at 8.30am, adding a Lao company, Malany Transport, Ltd, will depart from Vang Vieng at 9am.

Mr Jirasak said passengers will be able to book seats online, or purchase tickets at each terminus and the airport at a specially built booth.

DOA director-general Daroon Saengchai said yesterday the department’s 27 remaining airports will introduce similar services within the MoU’s timeframe.

“Some of the routes set for a link with Laos include those from Ubon Ratchathani to Pakxe [in Champasak province, southern Laos] and Nan to Luang Prabang,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DOA also signed an MoU with Thailand Post Co, Ltd yesterday to install automated postal machines (APMs) at all its airports.

The national postal company’s president, Smorn Terdthampiboon, said the service will be introduced to allow passengers who unintentionally bring items prohibited on flights to mail them back home before departing.

Such items include expensive gels, cosmetics or power banks exceeding each airline’s milliampere hour limit, she said. According to Ms Smorn, each parcel will cost 50 baht to mail, regardless of size.

She said an APM was introduced at Suvarnabhumi airport — run by Airports of Thailand Plc — earlier this month, adding it has been used more than 2,000 times so far. Ms Smorn said no specific deadline has yet been set for all the machines to be installed.

News Reporter

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