Bangkok Airways (BA) is gearing up for re-entry into Chinese skies, placing a priority on connections with its lucrative Samui hub.
President Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth says China is the main focus for Bangkok Airways' international expansion.
Having quietly relaunched its first mainland China service in seven years with four-weekly Samui-Chengdu flights in July, the SET-listed full-service carrier is set to follow up with two more routes.
The airline will start a daily Samui-Guangzhou flight and thrice-weekly Samui-Chongqing service in November and December respectively, said president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth.
All three routes will be served by Airbus A319 series jetliners.
Bangkok Airways wants to develop Samui, where the airline owns the sole airport, as a Thai destination of choice for Chinese, allowing it toavoid intense competition from the capital to destinations operated by an assortment of legacy and budget carriers.
The airline recorded 22% growth in Chinese tourist arrivals in the first half this year, up 13% in the second quarter alone. The carrier also saw the revenue contribution by its eight interline partner airlines rise 54% year-on-year in the first half, with revenue from point-of-sales in China making up 4% of passenger revenue.
The airline also plans to ramp up its Bangkok-Danang route, launched in May, to seven flights a week from four some time this month.
BA shares closed yesterday on the SET at 24.90 baht, down 10 satang, in trade worth 229 million baht.