Thai AirAsia prepares for new route to Taipei; 60% of capacity still on domestic routes

Image: Air Asia Stewardesses
Thai AirAsia (a joint venture between AirAsia and Thailand’s Asia Aviation) has announced it will connect Bangkok and Taipei – direct daily flights start from 25th September. Earlier this year, the AirAsia subsidiary launched direct, daily flights from Bangkok to Bali.

Asia’s largest low-cost carrier AirAsia has physical bases in three countries (Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia) and a rapidly developing ‘virtual’ base in Singapore. The Bangkok-based Thai AirAsia now operates 17 aircraft (including nine A320s) and reported its best ever profits in the first quarter of 2009 as passenger numbers were up 4% and load factor reached 74%. Passenger numbers were up 10% in the traditionally weaker second quarter while load factor fell to just below 70%. According to the airline’s own presentations Thai AirAsia now has a 40% share of the Thailand market (though the presentation does not make it clear what it is measuring) up from 34% in 2007 and 28% in 2006.

Taipei route starts next month

Country Destination (daily frequency)
Cambodia Phnom Penh (1)
China Guangzhou (1), Shenzhen (1)
Hong Kong Hong Kong (1)
Indonesia Denpasar Bali (1)
Macau Macau (4)
Malaysia Kuala Lumpur (3), Penang (2)
Myanmar Rangoon (1)
Singapore Singapore (4)
Thailand Chiang Rai (3), Chiang Mai (6), Hat Yai (4 to 5), Phuket (8), Krabi (3), Narathiwat (1), Nakhon Si Thammarat (1), Ubon Ratchathani (1), Surat Thani (2), Udon Thani (2)
Vietnam Hanoi (2), Ho Chi Minh City (1 to 2)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 3 August 2009

Operations began on 1 February 2004 and this summer Thai AirAsia is operating to 22 destinations in 10 countries from its Bangkok base.

Image: Route map

Almost 60% of flights are on domestic routes. Bangkok is also served by Kuala Lumpur based AirAsia (from Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru) and by Indonesia AirAsia (from Jakarta). Since the beginning of 2007 new routes have been added to Nakhon Si Thammarat (June 2007), Shenzhen (July 2007), Ho Chi Minh City (April 2008), Hong Kong (October 2008), Denpasar Bali (January 2009) and Guangzhou (August 2009).

Next month sees the start of daily flights to Taipei beginning on 25 September. The route is currently served by China Airlines, Eva Airways and Thai Airways who all operate between two and three daily flights. Routes that have been dropped by the airline from Bangkok include Khon Kaen, Kota Kinabalu, Langkawi, Ranong and Xiamen. There are currently no routes to India.

One in six flights at Bangkok

Image: Thailand
From 2007: Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Mrs Phornsiri Manoharn with Chief Executive Officer of low-cost airline Thai AirAsia, Mr Tassapon Bijleveld (right), and TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, Mr Suraphon Svetasreni (left), at a welcoming ceremony for Thai AirAsia’s airline’s thirteenth Boeing 737-300 aircraft, the first to fly the “Amazing Thailand” campaign logo.

Based on analysis of current schedule data Thai AirAsia operates 16% of flights at Bangkok airport this summer generating around 11% of total seat capacity. Thai Airways operates just over twice as many flights and almost four times as much seat capacity with its focus on bigger long-haul aircraft. It also competes head-to-head with Thai AirAsia on 18 of its 22 routes. Only on Narathiwat and Nakhon Si Thammarat does Thai AirAsia have a monopoly while on the Macau and Shenzhen routes competition is provided by Air Macau and Shenzhen Airlines.


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