EVA Air and Thai Airways will offer code-sharing flights between Taoyuan and Bangkok from Oct. 30, in the hope of benefiting from an ongoing visa-waiver program for Thai nationals visiting Taiwan, the two airlines said on Wednesday.
The number of Thais flying to Taiwan on EVA Air has grown by about 20 percent since the program took effect on Aug. 1, said Douglas Li (???), executive vice president of EVA Air's passenger division.
"There have been significant increases in both group tourists and free independent travelers," Li said, indicating that EVA hopes the partnership will encourage Thai passengers en route to North America to fly with EVA.
Thai nationals are able to visit Taiwan without a visa under a one-year trial program that is part of Taiwan's "new southbound policy" which seeks to strengthen Taiwan's relations with Southeast Asia.
Chetseni Dhanarajata, general manager of Thai Airways' Taiwan office, said he expects about 10 percent growth in the number of passengers using the code-sharing service to fly EVA Air to North America.
"The market picked up a lot from Thailand to Taiwan (after the introduction of the visa-free program)," Dhanarajata said, adding that he is optimistic about future travel between the two countries, using both Thai Airways and EVA Air routes to United States.
For example, it will provide more destinations for Thai nationals who have settled in America or who are there as students, tourists or business people, he said. "We will cover almost all the major routes in America served by EVA Air aircraft," Dhanarajata said.
EVA Air and Thai Airways currently operate 27 and 14 flights per week, respectively, on the Taoyuan-Bangkok route.
Thai Airways will have half its weekly flights included in the code-sharing program, making the total applicable Taoyuan-Bangkok flights for both airlines 34 per week.
Code-sharing services allow passengers from different airline companies to share the same flights, thus enabling more flexible travel itineraries.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel