AirAsia flights from Kuala Lumpur to Phuket are operating again now that Thailand has begun to reopen to the rest of the world, 20 months after the country’s borders were first closed to most international visitors.
The AirAsia flights to Phuket are primarily being run for those international travelers who are entering or exiting the Phuket Sandbox program.
Flights are only available for fully vaccinated passengers, as that is both AirAsia’s rule and the Thai government’s rule in order to participate in the Phuket Sandbox, and every passenger must meet all of Thailand’s entry requirements before being allowed to board.
Contactless check-in is also mandatory on all AirAsia flights, so if you don’t currently use a smart phone, you may want to avoid the airline and look for a different flight.
AirAsia flights from Kuala Lumpur to Phuket are also incredibly cheap at the moment, with passengers being able to book a ticket from now through March 30th, 2022 for only 50 ringgit (approximately 400 baht or $13.50).
Meanwhile, Asia Aviation PCL (AAV), the parent company of Thai AirAsia, is trying to raise almost $420 million in income to help fund operating costs due to the Thai government’s strict travel requirements over the last 20 months decimating the country’s airline industry.
The budget airline has been barely hanging on for the better part of a year and, even with Thailand’s borders now being open to some international visitors, it is still likely to be a year or two before passenger levels revert to anywhere near normal in the region.
Earlier in the year, 75% of the airline’s staff was furloughed for the first four months of 2021 as most flights were grounded due to provincial lockdowns in Thailand.
Two months later, all domestic flights were canceled for a month due to further government restrictions on travel within Thailand.
Whether AAV will be successful in their bid to raise funds remains to be seen. Whether they will survive in the form they are currently in today is also still up for debate.