On December 2, 2019, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) announced that it granted Nok Air the permission to operate scheduled flights between Bangkok Don Muang and Hiroshima.
The new route will be the first time for the mainly domestic Thai low-cost airline to operate scheduled flights to Japan.
DD3302/3303: Bangkok Don Muang – Hiroshima and Back
Nok Air will operate the first rotation between Bangkok Don Muang (DMK) and Hiroshima (HIJ) on December 18, 2019. From then on, the flights will operate three times a week with the following schedule:
- DD3302 / DMK – HIJ / 2:30AM – 10:00AM (Wed, Fri & Sun)
- DD3303 / HIJ – DMK / 11:00AM – 3:15PM (Wed, Fri & Sun)
The flights will be operated by Boeing 737-800s, the only type currently in the airline’s fleet capable of covering the distance. Nok Air also operates a fleet of Dash 8 Q400 turboprops and has a few of the currently-grounded 737 MAX jets on order.
As mentioned in the introduction, Hiroshima will be the airline’s first destination in Japan. It will also be one of the very few international destinations the airline currently serves. That said, Nok Air’s joint venture with the Singaporean low-cost Scoot, NokScoot currently connects Don Muang with Tokyo Narita daily, Osaka six times a week, and Sapporo four times a week.
The new route will be the first non-stop connection between Hiroshima and the Thai capital. The only other non-stop connection from Hiroshima to the region is Silk Air’s flight from Singapore operated three times a week with 737-800s.
Travelers between Hiroshima and Bangkok also have the option of taking one of the other airlines serving Hiroshima and connecting at their respective hubs. Besides ANA and JAL offering flights via Tokyo, other Asian airlines including Air China, China Airlines, and China Eastern Airlines serve the airport as well.
Considering that Hiroshima is an important historic city and is fairly distant from other large Japanese cities like Tokyo and Osaka, the new flights will be very useful for visitors from Southeast Asia. They will allow for open-jaw low-cost itineraries arriving from Bangkok in Tokyo or other Japanese city and departing from Hiroshima.
I am sure the flights will also be welcome by people living around Hiroshima as they will offer a convenient and affordable (as cheap as around 150 USD one-way) way to get to the region.
The only unfortunate thing is that the flights will – just like Silk Air’s flights – be operated by a narrow-body aircraft. But then again, that is not a big deal.