Thai VietJet to begin new Bangkok – Haikou in October
Bangkok – China is an enormous market, with 18 million seats between the two last year involving 87 airport-pairs and 61 Chinese cities. In 28th position by total seats was Haikou, the capital of Hainan, the southernmost province of China. Now, Thai VietJet Air has announced a new route: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Haikou. The 773-mile service – one of the shortest between the countries – is to begin in time for W20.
|Routing||Start date||Weekly frequency||Aircraft||Direct competition (WF)||Indirect competition (WF)|
|Bangkok Suvarnabhumi –Haikou||27 October 2020||3||A320||Hainan Airlines (7)*||0|
|*Not yet filed from 27 October, but it is currently available until the week before. Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.|
Bangkok – Haikou is a comparatively small market
Last year, 121,000 seats were offered between the two, flat since 2016. Following Sichuan Airlines’ less than one year operation, Hainan Airlines was the sole airline until 2019. Thai Lion Air began Bangkok Don Mueang – Haikou in December 2019 on a four-weekly basis using its 215-seat B737-900ERs. Then coronavirus happened. At the time of writing, it’s unclear if Thai Lion Air will resume the route as it’s not bookable – even from October. In 2019, Thai Lion Air was the leading operator by seats between Bangkok and China as a result of its 18 routes between the two. However, it’s possible that Thai AirAsia will overtake it this year.
Thai VietJet’s first China route
Bangkok – Haikou is Thai VietJet’s first foray into China. The carrier is overwhelmingly a domestic operator, with its 2020 scheduled route map – which is subject to change – below. OAG Schedules Analyser shows that Thai VietJet is Thailand’s seventh-largest domestic operator, with 2.4 million domestic seats last year. This is six times fewer seats than the market leader, Thai AirAsia. It is noteworthy that Thai VietJet’s domestic seats were flat YOY as it focused on international growth instead. After all, domestic Thailand is one of the world’s most competitive markets, with 71% LCC penetration – and Thai VietJet is by far the smallest.