Thai Lion Air becomes latest Lion Air joint venture
AirAsia’s dominance of the low-cost market in several Asian markets is being increasingly challenged by Indonesia’s Lion Air, which launched a Kuala Lumpur-based joint venture (Malindo Air) in March 2013, and has now ventured into the Thai market with the creation of Thai Lion Air. Basing itself at Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport (DMK), the airline operated its first flight, a domestic service to Chiang Mai (CNX), on 4 December. Before Christmas it launched its first international flights to Jakarta (CGK) and Kuala Lumpur (KUL). Although the Jakarta service began with two daily flights, in early January this was reduced to one daily flight, while frequency on the Chiang Mai service was increased to four daily flights.
Two 737-900s currently operating six return flights
The airline’s fleet currently comprises two 215-seat 737-900ERs, with a further two 189-seat 737-800s set to join the fleet in February. Analysis of the airline’s current schedule indicates that neither aircraft is currently based in Thailand, with one aircraft being ‘flown in’ from Jakarta, and the other from Kuala Lumpur.
|Aircraft 1||Aircraft 2|
|CGK 06:20 – 10:00 DMK||KUL 07:55 – 09:05 DMK|
|DMK 11:20 – 12:35 CNX||DMK 10:20 – 11:35 CNX|
|CNX 13:20 – 14:35 DMK||CNX 12:20 – 13:35 DMK|
|DMK 15:40 – 16:55 CNX||DMK 14:30 – 15:45 CNX|
|CNX 17:35 – 18:50 DMK||CNX 16:25 – 17:40 DMK|
|DMK 19:35 – 23:15 CGK||DMK 19:50 – 23:50 KUL|
|Source: Thai Lion Air booking tool for Tuesday 7 January 2014|
With neither aircraft currently based in Bangkok, the airline’s four daily flights to Chiang Mai are all bunched quite close together, with departures from Bangkok at 10:20, 11:20, 14:30 and 15:40 and departures from Chiang Mai at 12:20, 13:20, 16:25 and 17:35. Normally offering four daily flights would be seen as an attempt to attract business passengers who may want to make a day trip, but this schedule makes this virtually impossible. However, it does allow Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta based passengers the chance to make a day trip to Bangkok.