Low-cost carrier Thai Vietjet Air will begin operating regular flights between Sendai Airport and Bangkok via Taipei, starting as early as the end of January, industry sources said. Arrangements are being made for three round-trips per week.
There had been a direct flight operated by Thai Airways between Sendai and Bangkok, but it was suspended during the pandemic and has yet to resume. The new flight will operate via Taipei due to strong demand for flights to the Taiwan capital.
Thai Vietjet Air began its first flights to Japan in July last year with a Fukuoka-Bangkok route. Its parent company, Vietjet Air, has previously operated charter flights to and from Sendai Airport.
Final details such as flight schedules are being worked out with the airport and once completed, the airline expects to begin the new flight as early as late January.
Currently, the main destination of flights out of Sendai is Taipei. Three Taiwan airlines, including EVA Airways, operate a total of 17 round-trips per week.
According to sources, in addition to expecting certain passenger numbers in both directions between Bangkok and the Tohoku region, Thai Vietjet Air appears to have decided to start the service to capitalize on strong demand from Taiwan visitors to Japan.
All international flights at Sendai were suspended during pandemic, with those to Taipei, Seoul and Beijing resumed in January this year. The Shanghai flight is set to restart next month, leaving Bangkok as the lone remaining suspended route.
Sendai Mayor Kazuko Kori has made two promotional trips to Bangkok, once in the spring and again this month, where she assured the city’s cooperation with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and touted Sendai to local travel agencies.
Sendai regards Thailand as a key country for attracting overseas tourists.