Thai Lion Air Moves into Long Haul Segment

Low cost carrier Thai Lion Air, affiliate of the Lion Air group in Thailand, is mulling out the launch by the end of the year, according to newspaper the ‘Bangkok Post’.

Thailand English-speaking newspaper Bangkok Post, announced that Thai Lion Air (TLA) is looking to launch its first long-haul routes from early next year or even by the end of 2017.

The information was provided to the newspaper by Thai Lion Air CEO Aswin Yangkirativorn. The carrier would then become the third Thailand-based budget carrier to serve long-haul markets after Thai AirAsia X and NokScoot.

Other low cost airlines into the long-haul business out of Thailand are Eurowings (Germany), Jetstar (Australia), Norwegian (Norway) as well as Peach (Japan).Peach is until now the youngest low haul budget carrier with a presence in Thailand with a daily flight between Bangkok and Okinawa.

The airline confirmed the delivery schedules of its first three wide-body jets by the end of the year. The first aircraft is due to come into the fleet in November and the two following aircraft in December. The selected aircraft will be an Airbus A330-300. The three jets are brand new aircraft and will incorporate additional features compared to competition.

Thai Lion Air long haul aircraft will effectively offer a premium economy product with a business-class-like flat-bed seat and will provide free entertainment screens in both premium economy and economy classes. Premium economy will comprise 18-20 seats, while there are 370 seats in the economy section.

The aircraft should first be put into service to and from China with the first destinations likely to be served being Shanghai and Beijing. They are options for the carrier to serve Japan, Korea as well and possibly in the longer term India or Australia. Shanghai has already been confirmed by Chinese civil aviation authorities while approval is still pending for Beijing.

(Partial Source: Bangkok Post)