Thai AirAsia X confirms 2015 plan
Thai AirAsia X (TAAX) will enter 2015 with a confirmed plan to add two more jets, carry 500,000 passengers and achieve 4 billion baht in revenue.
The plan represents robust growth for the country's first long-haul low-cost carrier (LCC), which took to the skies only five months ago.
TAAX, part of Malaysia's AirAsia Group, expects to end 2014 with 200,000 passengers, revenue of 1.1 to 1.2 billion baht and an average load factor of 85%.
Chief executive Nadda Buranasiri yesterday confirmed next year's plan, saying it would strengthen the LCC's first-mover advantage as the market heated up with the entry of a new challenger.
NokScoot, a joint venture between Thai budget carrier Nok Air and Singapore's no-frills Scoot, plans to become the second Thailand-based long-haul LCC in next year's first quarter, with flights to Japan.
In 2015, TAAX's third A330-300 wide-body jet is due to start operation in March and a fourth one in the fourth quarter.
While TAAX earlier announced plans to add a third aircraft, acquisition of the fourth aeroplane was confirmed only after the recent conclusion of its 2015 business plan.
Mr Nadda said the fourth aircraft would enable TAAX to expand its coverage of Japan, the airline's country of focus, to include Hokkaido island.
It will also allow TAAX to provide a second daily flight from its Don Mueang airport base to Incheon, South Korea.
After the arrival of its third A330-300, TAAX will from next March 26 double its Bangkok-Narita service to twice daily and increase Bangkok-Osaka flights to daily from five a week.
China will be the next destination for TAAX, possibly in 2016, while India is under consideration, Mr Nadda said.