Five small commercial airlines have requested Airports of Thailand (AoT) to stop what they said was unfair treatment by not giving them incentives to return to Don Mueang airport.
The airlines Tuesday selected Nok Air chief executive officer Patee Sarasin as their representative to meet Transport minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan to discuss the issue.
The AoT has announced it will grant three-year discounts on airport fees to 14 budget and chartered airlines if they agree to relocate from the congested Suvarnabhumi airport to Don Mueang.
However, the AoT stunned Orient Thai, Nok Air, its sister airline Nok Mini or Siam general Aviation, Solar Air and M Jet, which offers chartered flights, by excluding them from the incentives.
The AoT reasoned that since the five airlines were not based at Suvarnabhumi airport from the outset, but had only moved there late last year from Don Mueang during the flood crisis, they would not be given incentives to return.
AoT president Anirut Thanomkulbutra said Nok Air and M Jet do not qualify for the incentives because they have already moved back to Don Mueang, which reopened in March after being closed since October due to the floods.
Patee said Nok Air should receive the discounts because it “sacrificed” modern facilities at Suvarnabhumi to move back to Don Mueang.
“Giving incentives to only the 14 airlines will result in unfair competition among the airlines,” he said.
Orient Thai Airlines executive Udom Tantiprasongchai said such unfair treatment would put the five airlines at a disadvantage when competing with other no-frills carriers because they would have to bear higher costs.
“This is unfair and we demand the government consider granting incentives equally to every airline at Don Mueang airport,” he said.
Minister Jarupong said yesterday he is willing to listen to the opinions of all sides, including those of the AoT.
In principle, he said, all airlines using the Don Mueang airport should receive fair treatment.
The AoT criteria for granting discounts stipulates that the airlines must be budget carriers and offer point-to-point flights.
Orient Thai, Nok Air and M Jet are not among the 14 eligible airlines, Anirut said. For Orient Thai and the two other airlines, the AoT will review the cases of each carrier, he said.
Thai AirAsia, which operates over 100 flights daily, has become the first of the 14 airlines to decide to move to Don Mueang airport from October 1.
The AoT is offering 95 percent discounts, which cover take-off, landing and hangar fees, if the target airlines use Don Mueang from August 1 to September 30, when the six-year-old Suvarnabhumi airport will be undergoing repairs.