Dominating the Thai and Indochinese air travel markets is at the top of this year's wish list for the no-frills carrier Thai AirAsia (TAA).
Tassapon: Word for 2013 is ‘domination’
Chief executive Tassapon Bijleveld revealed the goal against a backdrop of fiercer competition in the airline industry this year.
"In 2013, we will very much gear ourselves towards dominating domestic and Indochinese skies," he said in an interview with the Bangkok Post.
TAA, the local unit of Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd, Asia's largest low-cost carrier, will ramp up frequencies on its existing domestic routes while spreading its wings to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam as well as Myanmar.
He declined to name the new cities in Indochina that are on TAA's radar screen but said the airline expects to start making inroads into Laos with the start of flights to Vientiane "soon, within this year".
TAA already serves Phnom Penh, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City along with Yangon and Mandalay.
This year's emphasis on Thai and Indochinese network expansion appears to diminish its earlier strategy of adding more destinations in China.
TAA will instead this year seek to raise frequencies on its existing Chinese routes, which have enjoyed good load factors and profitability.
"Again, we want to dominate the Chinese routes we are operating," said Mr Tassapon.
Last year, TAA launched three China-bound routes from its Bangkok hub _ Chongqing (inaugurated on March 23), Wuhan (Oct 19) and Xi'an (Nov 16).
In addition, TAA has been serving Guangzhou and Shenzhen along with the territories of Hong Kong and Macau from the Thai capital.
The opening up of Indochinese states plus Myanmar to tourism coupled with rising regional travel demand spurred by the launch of the Asean Economic Community in 2016 will accommodate TAA's increased coverage of these areas, said Mr Tassapon.
To cash in on growing demand, TAA is accelerating its acquisition of new Airbus 320 jets, with seven more joining its fleet this year instead of the four or five announced earlier.
This year's deliveries will bring TAA's all-A320 fleet to 34.
About the author
- Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana
Position: Deputy Editor Business