Thai aviation growth soars past average

Thai aviation growth soars past average

Aerothai eyes more regional cooperation

Thailand is enjoying the highest aviation growth in the world, the state-owned Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Ltd (Aerothai) says.

Thailand's annual growth rate puts it at the top of the list of countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). The region's aviation growth rate is higher than the global average, Aerothai president Sarinee Saangprasit said.

This is the position Thailand must maintain by means of "cooperation" rather than competition with Asean countries that are tipped to have high growth rates in the future, she said.

According to Aerothai, the country's annual aviation growth rate has been between 10% and 13%, about two times higher than the regional average of 6.3% in Asean.

The numbers are very high, especially when compared with the annual global average of 6.3%, he said.

Thailand has the highest share of air traffic volume in the region, with 28%, followed by Singapore with 25%.

However, it is expected that Myanmar and Vietnam will be next in line for high growth owing to their dense populations, growing economies and thriving tourism industries.

"Aerothai will cooperate with countries that have big potential," Ms Sarinee said, referring to those in the CLMV group, made up of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Aerothai will work more closely on future investment and what she called "aviation resources sharing".

Details of collaboration plans will be tabled during a talk among aeronautical radio agencies in Asean. The meeting will be held in Hanoi in May, and will go under a theme of "embracing change", Ms Sarinee said.

Domestically, Aerothai will also seek cooperation from other state agencies to help strengthen air traffic volumes.

It is planning to talk to the Thai air force on the concept of "flexible air space" to have the country's airspace better managed for commercial and security purposes.

One goal is to enable Thailand to serve up to 2.7 million air trips a year, Ms Sarinee said.

Aerothai has hired a British consultancy firm to study the airpace's management. The results of the study are expected by the end of next year, she said.

Aerothai will also look to other agencies as business partners, Ms Sarinee added. They include Airports of Thailand Plc, which runs major airports Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok, and Thai Airways International, which is the national carrier.

They will jointly work to increase flights and ensure air services meet international standards.

Ms Sarinee said Asean's aviation growth rate will reach its peak in the next 15 years.

African countries will then become the industry's biggest players, as their air traffic volume leaps ahead.

Thailand will host a conference on global aviation next year to be attended by the world's major aeronautical radio agencies, she said.

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