Bangkok Airways may launch low cost carrier ?

Posted on September 11, 2012

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With a reputation build up on an excellent service due to its status of “Boutique Airline” – the airline’s slogan for now a few years- Bangkok Airways remains confronted to increased competition in regional markets.

For many years, the carrier has been able to prosper thanks in part to its quasi-monopoly on Koh Samui flights – Thai Airways proposes only two daily frequencies between Bangkok and Samui- and its complete monopoly on flights to Siem Reap-Angkor out of Bangkok. Anticipating a complete open-sky on ASEAN routes following the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the carrier is looking at new strategies.

Over the last two years, Bangkok Airways has increased the number of flights on most of its domestic and regional destinations in a bid to strengthen flights connectivity with its overseas partners. It has also opened new flights to South Asia with frequencies to Bangladesh as well as to India.


 

According to Peter Wiesner, Vice President in charge of the strategic development, Bangkok Airways will increase its presence in the Mekong region with a third daily flight between Bangkok and Yangon from September 15. It will also open in December a daily frequency between Bangkok and Vientiane in Laos. They are plans to serve by September 2013 Mandalay out of Bangkok as well as coming back to Vietnam from 2014. “We need two daily flights at least to satisfy demand to either Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi or both cities. We now also evaluate flights from Suvarnabhumi to Krabi, Udon Thani or Hat Yai as Thai AirAsia will relocate its operations to Don Muang Airport from October 1st”, indicates Peter Wiesner.

In a recent interview to the Nation newspaper, Bangkok Airways president Puttipong Prasarttong-osoth indicated to also study the feasibility of launching its own low-cost carrier to capture this fast-growing market following the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. A decision will be taken following the airline’s listing on Thailand’s Stock Exchange which is planned for the first quarter of 2013.

It would be a major shift for Bangkok Airways, which until recently refused to move into that field by feeling that its boutique concept was sufficient to retain its passengers. Although the airline benefits from interlining agreements with some 72 international carriers and code share with a dozen carriers –including Finnair, Etihad, Air Berlin, Air France-KLM, Malaysia Airlines, Silk Air or Thai Airways, point-to point traffic is definitely under threat- as it is also for Thai Airways International…

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Posted in: Bangkok