The Thai Government recommended to the management of Thai Airways International to look more for ASEAN to strengthen and expand the reach of Bangkok as an international hub. The information was reported on Tuesday by the Bangkok Post following the visit by Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak of the airline’s headquarters.
The government suggested that Thai Airways International and its subsidiaries expand their route system in the ASEAN by also cooperating with other carriers in the Greater Mekong Sub-region to create the necessary synergies. ‘Thai could turn Bangkok into the real gateway of ASEAN”, stressed the Minister.
Bangkok is already an important international gateway for travellers wishing to visit the Greater Mekong Sub-region with daily flights from Thai Airways and its subsidiary Thai Smile to all Mekong capitals as well as to important tourist destinations such as Siem Reap and Luang Prabang. Thailand national carrier serves 13 regional destinations within ASEAN offering close to 214,000 seats per month (data for April 2016). However, they are still some missing points in the airline’s network such as Danang in Vietnam, Mandalay in Myanmar, Cebu in the Philippines, Medan, Surabaya or Yogyakarta in Indonesia which could help Thai Airways International to leverage on connectivity not only with the carrier’s long-haul network but also within Asia.
By comparison, Singapore Airlines and its regional subsidiary Silk Air have currently a network of 34 regional destinations with a monthly capacity of 466,000 seats.
The biggest competitor to Thai Airways in Thailand is so far the AirAsia group. ThaiAirAsia and its sister companies AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia offer a network of 15 destinations within ASEAN from Bangkok with potentially adding soon flights to Danang and Vientiane. Out of Bangkok, the AirAsia group tracks Thai Airways international with a monthly capacity of 211,500 seats to regional destinations (data for April 2016). The only weak point of AirAsia is the absence of intercontinental connections, AirAsia being located at Don Mueang International Airport.
The Bangkok Post reported that Thai Airways International President Charamporn Jotikasthira explained that the airline would adjust its aircraft-acquisition plan and routes to respond to the goal to become a primary airline for travellers heading to Southeast Asia and strenghten its efforts in cooperation with Thai Smile and Nok Air to offer more regional flights.