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Phuket Hub: AirAsia Set For Resorts Growth

Phuket Hub: AirAsia Set For Resorts Growth

Thursday, April 30, 2009
AIR ASIA seems highly likely to open one or more branded resorts on Phuket as the airline beds down its dream of making the island a flight hub for expansion into China and the region.

Broad hints were dropped today as the carrier's new office on the beach road in Patong was opened amid a gaggle of pretty air stewards and equally pretty Patong lady boy katoeys.

The 700 souvenir beach umbrellas for Patong municipality are on the way, and taking off is the concept of Phuket as an air hub.

That will become reality by the end of this year, Thai AirAsia CEO Tassapon Bijleveld told the media throng today.

The aim, he said, is to open up the China market, with Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Phuket as the big attractions.

Direct flights to and from the island are likely to become available quickly to several cities in China, including Hong Kong.

And the need for AirAsia to provide numbers of staff with accommodation leads to the conclusion that the accommodation might as well be a resort or two, probably carrying the Tune Hotels livery.

Tune is the pioneering concept of guests enjoying a five-star bed, then paying extra for everything else.

It comes in the same bright red signage as AirAsia, another Malaysian idea, delivered with the promise: ''Now everyone can fly.''

Promotional prices came with the pretty girls and katoeys today. The prices were attractive, too.

AirAsia is offering eight flights daily Phuket-Bangkok, one flight Phuket-Singapore and three flights Phuket-Kuala Lumpur, all from 500 baht one way, between May 5 and July 31. Bookings have to be made before May 10.

The office at Taweewong Road is open 11am-10pm daily. Telephone 076 341792.

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