AirAsia considers twin hubs in capital
Thai AirAsia (TAA) is considering making Suvarnabhumi airport its new aviation hub, alongside its already established hub in Don Mueang airport, to increase the company's revenue.
Tassapon Bijleveld, executive chairman of Asia Aviation (AAV) -- the largest shareholder of TAA, said the airline is conducting a feasibility study on the move to create a twin hub in Bangkok.
Mr Tassapon said due to the restrictions on flying, referring to the effect of Covid-19 lockdowns on the aviation industry, the airline is seeking every opportunity to increase revenue.
He noted that preliminary talks with the country's airport authority have revealed that TAA has many factors to consider, including operational costs, passenger demand and the company's readiness to provide ground services at the new hub.
Mr Tassapon said TAA is not worried about competition from existing rivals already using Suvarnabhumi airport as an aviation hub. Whenever the company decides to jump into "this new market", TAA will offer attractive promotions for potential customers, he said.
"We're now using just 30% of our 60-aircraft fleet," Mr Tassapon said. "So, we have to look for any place that could give us the potential to fly."
Additionally, Mr Tassapon said Thai AirAsia X, the long-haul low-cost carrier under the same group, is working on a plan to resume flying on international routes after the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) reportedly gave the nod for flights from Bangkok to Fukuoka to resume in September.
However, he said the airline will conclude on the matter next week after taking time to consider Transport Ministry details given to the company on Monday about travel arrangements between the two countries.
"A 14-day quarantine can be an obstacle for tourists who want to travel," Mr Tassapon said. "[The quarantine] can prevent the airline from restarting international routes as nobody wants to be kept under quarantine for two weeks."
Regarding a recent report on AirAsia's financial stability amid the coronavirus outbreak, Mr Tassapon said the local subsidiary, TAA, should not be affected by Covid-19.
Air Asia Berhad, a Malaysian company, is the parent company of all AirAsia subsidiaries.
Mr Tassapon, however, noted that if the parent company cannot afford to run, TAA will have to enter rehabilitation, following the path of Thai Airways International Pcl (THAI).