Phuket Air breaks out

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In a bid to break away from its reliance on Thailand's crowded domestic market, Phuket Air has started international operations to Bangladesh and Dubai and a three-times-weekly service between Bangkok and London Gatwick.

The private carrier, which previously flew exclusively domestically, added London to its network on 1 July, flying Boeing 747-200s configured with 26 business-class and 440 economy-class seats.

Thailand's domestic market is becoming increasingly competitive, with new low-fare entrants One-Two-Go, Thai AirAsia and Nok Air.

Phuket Air is focusing on the long-haul leisure market and plans to offer daily services for the winter season and to fly connecting flights on to Sydney if there is sufficient demand, says the airline's senior vice-chairman Kanin Phuvastien.