Air China is the latest Chinese airline to make Chiang Mai a port of call.
The move is aimed at capitalising on the intense interest in the northern Thai capital generated by the Chinese box-office hit movie Lost in Thailand, which was released last year.
The Chinese flag carrier will on Nov 7 commence regular service from Beijing to Chiang Mai thrice weekly.
Service will be on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, eliminating the need for its Chiang Mai-bound passengers to transfer in Bangkok.
The single-aisle Boeing 737-800 jet will be used on the route, an airline official in Bangkok said yesterday.
Chiang Mai will be the third Thai city served non-stop from Beijing by Air China, after Bangkok and Phuket.
It will become the fourth Chinese carrier serving Chiang Mai from China, after China Eastern Airlines, Juneyao Airlines and Shandong Airlines, which offer both scheduled and charter service.
China Southern Airlines also plans a descent into Chiang Mai, with a regular service linking Guangzhou from Dec 1.
Chiang Mai is one of the top 20 most popular outbound destinations for Chinese nationals in the most recent research conducted by TripAdvisor.com, one of the world's largest travel websites.
The other two Thai cities on the list are Phuket and Bangkok.
The airline will continue its daily service to Bangkok using B737-800 and B777-200 wide-body jets and its thrice-weekly Beijing-Phuket flights on board the B737-800.
Almost 3 million Chinese tourists visited Thailand last year, the most from any nation, and 4 million are expected this year.
In the first eight months of this year, Chinese arrivals jumped 88% year-on-year to 3.22 million, Tourism and Sports Ministry figures show.
About the author
- Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana
Position: Deputy Editor Business