Six Senses takes off with flight perks

Cambodia Construction News

six senses takes off with flight perksSix Senses, the international luxury resort and spa developer and manager, is gearing up to expand its private flight services and facilities at its flagship property on Thailand‘s fourth largest island.

The Soneva Kiri resort’s Cessna Grand Caravan descends to the Koh Kood airfield off the coast of Trat.

The company is acquiring a second Cessna Grand Caravan propeller plane and upgrading its airfield on Koh Kood in Trat province to an international standard, largely to enable it to launch regular international flights for guests from its 29-villa Soneva Kiri resort to Siem Reap in Cambodia.

The location of the year-old property may be considered remote by some travellers, but special flights will create links with other Six Senses properties including those in Phuket and Koh Samui.

However, its main aim for now is to offer trips to Angkor Wat to its affluent Soneva Kiri guests.

Its airfield is believed to be the first privately owned facility in Thailand to be equipped with customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) facilities. Another unique feature is that a privately owned plane would be operating on a regular basis, not on charter, across the borders.

But Thai authorities may need some convincing to allow CIQ facilities at the Koh Kood airfield and international fights from there, says Soneva Kiri resort manager Gary Henden.

There are costs for setting up CIQ facilities and availability of officials will be an issue, in addition to security concerns, he explained.

However, Six Senses is prepared to cover the costs involved.

“The idea is to have [the officials] come over here when the services are needed and we will subsidise the whole thing,” the British executive said.

The company also needs Thai authorities’ permission to operate a short route from Koh Kood, close the Thai-Cambodian maritime boundary, to Siem Reap via Koh Khong in Cambodia.

The proposed route will take the single-engine Cessna Grand Caravan about 45 minutes to reach Siem Reap, compared to one hour and 25 minutes if it were to fly the normal route, according to Mr Henden.

Six Senses hopes to launch the Siem Reap services in January or February at two or three flights a week.

A second plane is expected to enter services in January, initially to double frequencies on the one-hour flight between Bangkok‘s Suvarnabhumi Airport and Koh Kood. Soneva Kiri now operates three to four flights a day between the two sites.

The second plane would be configured with 10 seats, compared to eight in the current plane, as smaller seats meant for small children would be added.

Both planes will be operated by SGA Airlines which also operates domestic commercial scheduled flights under the sub-brand of budget carrier Nok Airlines – Nok Mini – from Chiang Mai.

Six Senses is looking at the future possibility of using higher-capacity aircraft at Soneva Kiri but they must be able to land on the existing 850-metre runway, said Mr Henden.

Extending the runway would involve reclaiming land from the sea, which Six Senses does not want to do as it would affect the pristine environment, he added.


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