Bangkok Airways expects profit for 2023

Bangkok Airways expects profit for 2023

An Airbus A319 aircraft operated by Bangkok Airways.
An Airbus A319 aircraft operated by Bangkok Airways.

Bangkok Airways expects its passenger rate to hit 70-80% of the pre-pandemic level this year, roughly 4.4 million people from more than 40,000 flights, and will possibly post an annual profit for the first time since 2019.

Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, president of Bangkok Airways, said long-haul demand has grown better than expected since the final quarter of last year, which will help to hit the target of 15 billion baht in revenue for 2023.

Mr Puttipong said European passengers currently accounted for 60% of the total, followed by Asia-Pacific and Thai passengers.

Last year the airline carried 2.6 million passengers, or about 46% of pre-pandemic levels, thanks to robust traffic after Thailand's reopening.

The number of flights in 2022 tallied 29,892 flights, or over 40% of pre-pandemic levels, with a load factor of 76%, compared to 68% in 2019.

As a result, it gained an improving passenger yield of 5.08 baht per kilometre, compared to 4.30 baht per km in 2019.

Bangkok Airways currently operates 22 routes, comprising 15 domestic routes and seven international routes.

It plans to resume two routes to China in the second half, from Samui to Chongqing and Samui to Chengdu, following the reopening of China.

Mr Puttipong said banking crises in the US and Europe would not cause a slowdown in long-haul passengers, since their governments have been urgently solving the issue and customers are still confident about their savings.

However, the critical challenge this year is fuel prices, which typically account for 30% of operational expenses.

Mr Puttipong expects prices to continue to fall, which would help reduce overall expenses.

As a few new Thai airlines are set to launch this year, including P80 Air, which focuses on the Chinese market, and Really Cool Airlines targeting long-haul flights, he said those players would help enhance the market rather than being competitors as Bangkok Airways has a different focus than them.

Bangkok Airways currently has 32 airplanes, but the fleet size will be cut to 27-28 as it plans to sell seven jets and introduce two or three new ones.

Komkrit Ngamwongwirot, director of key account and ancillary products, said the airline will continue to target long-haul customers via various online travel agents and by appointing new agents in Germany, Scandinavia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and Australia.

Anawat Leelawatwatana, senior vice-president for finance and accounting, said the firm could secure net profit of 149 million baht for the fourth quarter of last year, and expects to see a whole-year profit in 2023.

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