Travel demand drives Q3 airfares
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Travel demand drives Q3 airfares

Tourists arrive in groups at Suvarnabhumi airport outside Bangkok. (File photo)
Tourists arrive in groups at Suvarnabhumi airport outside Bangkok. (File photo)

Average airfares in the third quarter this year continued to surge even though it was the low season, with the increases driven by strong travel demand.

Thai AirAsia reported a 22% year-on-year increase in airfares in the third quarter, while Bangkok Airways recorded a 15% uptick.

For the period, Thai AirAsia's average price surged to 1,720 baht, up from 1,404 baht a year earlier. The fare also exceeded the 2019 level, which was 1,457 baht.

Santisuk Klongchaiya, chief executive of Thai AirAsia, said the airline increased airfares by 15-20% for the current quarter to accommodate the tourism high season as it prioritises a return to profitability.

Thai AirAsia served 4.56 million passengers in the third quarter, accounting for 86% of the 2019 level, with an average load factor of 90%.

This allowed Asia Aviation Plc (AAV), its major shareholder, to secure 9.89 billion baht in revenue for the quarter.

AAV posted positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) for four consecutive quarters, with 389 million baht in the third quarter.

The company reported losses of 1.69 billion baht, down from 4 billion in the same period last year, mainly attributed to unrealised losses from baht depreciation.

Mr Santisuk said visa exemptions for Chinese, Kazakh, Indian and Taiwanese visitors should increase arrivals until at least the end of the first quarter next year.

Falling fuel prices and a new domestic excise tax should be a tailwind for the industry, he said.

Thai AirAsia carried 13.8 million passengers over the first nine months and targets 20 million passengers with an 87% average load factor for this year by utilising its 54-aircraft fleet, said Mr Santisuk.

Bangkok Airways reported its average airfare surged 15% to 3,803 baht between July and September year-on-year.

Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, president of Bangkok Airways, said increased passenger numbers and higher airfares helped improve passenger revenue by 39.8% in the third quarter.

The airline reported an Ebitda of 1.4 billion baht, an increase of 182% from the same period last year.

Bangkok Airways carried 967,800 passengers in the third quarter and 3 million over the first nine months this year.

The airline's load factor in the third quarter was 78%.

Bangkok Airways resumed some routes and opened others, including Samui-Hong Kong, Lampang-Mae Hong Son, and Bangkok-Maldives.

As of September, the airline maintains 24 aircraft in its fleet, compared with 35 at the end of last year.

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