New ATR turboprops for Kan Air
Commuter airline Kan Air has entered a new era of growth with the deployment of a new fleet of turboprop aircraft.
A new era: Kan Air staff transfer luggage from the airline’s first ATR 72-500 at Mae Hong Son Airport.
The privately owned carrier this month began flying its first ATR 72-500 propeller aeroplane and in mid-January is due to take delivery of a second one.
And a few more are on the radar as Kan Air embarks on an expansion, with secondary domestic routes the focus.
Introduction of the world's best-selling turboprop is an important step for the young airline, which started operations in 2010.
Kan Air, owned by Kannithi Aviation, had operated only two smaller aircraft — a single-engine Cessna Grand Caravan 208B propeller aeroplane with 12 seats and a Hawker Beechcraft Premier I, a six-seat executive jet the airline normally uses for charter services.
Arrival of the ATR 72-500s, with the first two leased from Singapore's Nordic Aviation Capital Pte, will enable Kan Air to expand in a way not possible with just the two smaller aircraft.
The Cessna Grand Caravan 208B has been the airline's sole workhorse for operating short flights with light-traffic destinations.
The first ATR 72-500 started its maiden service from its Chiang Mai base on Dec 5 to Mae Hong Son, followed by Khon Kaen on Dec 7 and Ubon Ratchathani on Dec 10 - all with a daily frequency.
When the second French-Italian made turboprop joins Kan Air in mid-Jan, the airline plans to add three routes - Chiang Mai-Nakhon Ratchasima, Chiang Mai-Hua Hin and Bangkok-Mae Sod, Kan Air president and founder Somphong Sooksanguan told the Bangkok Post.
Chiang Mai-Nakhon Ratchsima is a brand new route by any airline whereas Chiang Mai-Hua Hin and Bangkok-Mae Sod sectors are being reintroduced after a pause.
In August, Kan Air started to use its Hawker Beechcraft Premier I for Chiang Mai-Ubon Ratchathani, Chiang Mai-Hua Hin and Bangkok-Mae Sod, an exercise to spur traffic demand ahead of the ATR 72-500 arrival.
Kan Air offers an introductory fare starting from 990 baht for an all-inclusive one-way flights on board the three initial routes operated by the ATR 72-500.
For the time being, Kan Air will continue to deploy Cessna Grand Caravan 208B on its older routes from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son, Pai, Chiang Rai, Nan and Phitsanulok.