LCCs bite into legacy carriers' air traffic
All AoT-run airports see budget airline rise
As low-cost carriers' (LCCs) portion of air traffic continues to soar in Thailand, legacy airlines are seeing their share of the sky shrink.
LCCs accounted for 46.2% of all passengers moving through the country's six main airports in the first half of the year, up from 43.9% in the same period last year.
Rising in tandem was the share of flights operated by LCCs, which accounted for 47.6% of overall aircraft movements recorded in the January-June period, compared with 43.7% in the previous period.
LCCs have played an increasingly large role in the air transport industry, with their popularity growing among travellers because of their highly competitive fares relative to legacy airlines, fast-expanding networks and rising travel demand.
Figures sourced from Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT), which operates big airports like Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang, showed that LCCs increased their passenger numbers in the first half of the year by 13.7% to 30.5 million.
LCC passengers showed robust double-digit growth both internationally and domestically at 14.1% and 13.5%, respectively, to 10.9 million and 19.6 million.
Likewise, LCCs' aircraft movements (referring to take-offs and landings) for international routes grew 10.1% to 64,938 and 17.4% to 131,205, respectively.
LCCs were the key driver for overall growth in both passenger throughput and aircraft movements in the first half of the year.
LCCs are the carriers of choice for domestic passengers and play a dominant role in overall domestic air travel.
Total January-June passenger traffic by no-frills carriers and legacy airlines rose 8.2% to 66.1 million, while aircraft movements increased 5.7% to 411,916.
All six of the AoT-run airports saw double-digit growth in LCC passengers, who contributed to congestion at the country's three busiest airports: Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and Phuket.
Don Mueang, billed as one of Southeast Asia's busiest LCC hubs, handled 18.1 million passengers in the first half of the year, up 12.8% year-on-year.
Phuket increased its LCC passenger tally by 16.9% to 3.65 million, representing 43.2% of overall passenger counts at the site.
Chiang Mai ranked the third-largest handler of LCC passengers in Thailand with 3.18 million passengers, up 10.3%.
Suvarnabhumi, Thailand's gateway and preferred airport among legacy airlines with network operations, processed 15.9% more LCC passengers in the first half, reaching 2.79 million.
Airports in Chiang Rai saw LCC passenger traffic spike 25.1% -- the steepest rise nationwide -- to 915,627.
Hat Yai saw LCC passenger volume rise by 14.3% to 1.83 million.