AirAsia X ready to move into Thailand
More competition is coming to Thai skies with AirAsia X looking to firmly start out of Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok to long-haul destinations. Australia, Japan, Korea or Nepal could be the first destinations selected.
Low cost carrier Thai AirAsia will launch Thai AirAsia X, a new subsidiary based on the same model than its Malaysian counterpart. The idea is to compete head to head with other medium/long-haul carrier and offer competitive fares.
According to TAA management, the creation of the medium/long-haul subsidiary is planned to take-off in the first quarter of 2014. The airline is expecting to obtain soon its licence. According to TAA CEO Tassapon Bijleveld to the Bangkok Post, they should be no obstacle to obtain the licence from Thailand’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA). The airline will start with two aircraft Airbus A330. The aircraft would be equipped with two classes, 12 Premium flatbed seats and 365 economy seats.
Korea and Japan could be the first two countries being served by TAA- as they are among Asia’s most popular destinations for Thais while Koreans and Japanese are among Thailand’s top inbound tourism markets. Markets within a range of eight hours out of Bangkok could be served by the carrier. The set up of the carrier will also reestablish Bangkok Don Mueang Airport as an intercontinental gateway, a status it lost after the opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport in 2006.
Currently, Malaysia’s AirAsia X flies from Kuala Lumpur to destinations in China, Australia, Taiwan, Iran, South Korea and Japan and also offers charter Haj flights to Jeddah. It abandoned two years ago verylong-haul destinations (served with an Airbus A340) to New Zealand and Europe (London and Paris).
While two aircraft will definitely not be a serious threat –at least at the beginning- for Thai Airways or other legacy carriers, the presence of TAA X will certainly have an impact on fares’ level.