Thai AirAsia gets started at 2nd hub


Thai AirAsia has ex­panded to a sec­ond hub in Thai­land at Su­varn­ab­humi air­port, fol­low­ing its ex­ist­ing hub at Don Mueang, in hopes of cap­tur­ing a larger share of the do­mes­tic mar­ket and in­creas­ing rev­enue.

Last year the air­line car­ried 22.15 mil­lion pas­sen­gers, while this year’s vol­ume is es­ti­mated at 9.3 mil­lion. The year-to-date fig­ure is 6 mil­lion.

Travel re­stric­tions stem­ming from the coronaviru­s cri­sis have con­strained open­ings for in­ter­na­tional flights, giv­ing Thai AirAsia a chance to re-en­ter Su­varn­ab­humi, Thai­land’s gate­way air­port.

The low-cost car­rier will cater to do­mes­tic travel groups and po­ten­tially pro­vide a con­nect­ing hub for in­ter­na­tional flights once nor­mal travel re­sumes.

Thai AirAsia has re­sumed 90% of its pre-pan­demic do­mes­tic ser­vice, to­talling 109 daily flights to 39 des­ti­na­tions in Thai­land. There are 97 flights from Don Mueang and 12 from Su­varn­ab­humi.

The com­pany is cur­rently op­er­at­ing 37 of its 62 air­craft, of which four are fly­ing from Su­varn­ab­humi to four main des­ti­na­tions: Chi­ang Mai, Phuket, Su­rat Thani and Krabi.

Ad­vance book­ing for each flight at present is 50-60%. But chief ex­ec­u­tive San­tisuk Klongchaiy­a op­ti­misti­cally pre­dicts a higher load fac­tor of 80% or more in the com­ing high sea­son af­ter the govern­ment ap­proved ad­di­tional long hol­i­days and tourism stim­u­lus pack­ages.

If the two-month trial pe­riod at Su­varn­ab­humi shows pos­i­tive de­mand, AirAsia plans to re­lo­cate one more plane to the fleet there by the end of 2020. The air­line is still await­ing slot ap­proval for flights from Novem­ber on­ward.

“Prices must be com­pet­i­tive in or­der to cap­ture more de­mand, and when­ever prices dip the low­est due to pro­mo­tional stim­u­lus pack­ages, that is when we see de­mand surge the most,” Mr San­tisuk said.

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