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7JetSet7 Code: THA
Status: Operational
Region: ORIENT
Employees 167
Web: airasia.com
Email: nirachas@airasia.com
Telephone: +662 315 9800
Fax: +662 315 9801

Click below for data links:
THA-2013-11 - TO KRABI
THA-2016-01 - Phuket to Wuhan.jpg

Formed in 2003 and started operations in 2004. D B A AirAsia Aviation. Scheduled and charter, domestic, regional & international, passenger & cargo, jet airplane services.

99 Mu 5 1st Floor OSC Building
Kingkeaw Road, Samutprakarn, Thailand


November 2003: AirAsia (ASW) joint venture with Thailand's Shin Corporation to form AirAsia Aviation Company Ltd, to operate as Thai AirAsia (THA), which will commence operations in 2004 with 3 737-300's to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Phuket, Hat Yai, and Nakhon Ratchasima.

February 2004: AirAsia Aviation (Thai AirAsia) had its inaugural 737-700 flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai make an emergency landing because of a malfunctioning flap indicator and was forced to return 20 minutes after takeoff. Half of the passengers (mostly VIPs & reporters) opted out of continuing. Thai AirAsia, Bangkok to Singapore (daily, nonstop).

May 2004: Thai AirAsia (THA) (AirAsia Aviation), in June 2004, Bangkok to Macau (daily).

July 2004: (ASW) affiliate, Thai AirAsia (THA) launched Bangkok to Macau.

August 2004: Thai AirAsia (THA) to add +3 airplanes in 2004.

September 2004: In November 2004, Thai AirAsia (THA), Singapore to Phuket.

2 737-301's (23233, HS-AAM; 23234, HS-AAN), Air Asia (ASW) wet-leased.

October 2004: Bangkok to Kota Kinabalu.

November 2004: 2 737-301's (23236, HS-AAK; 23235, HS-AAL), (ASW) leased.

December 2004: 2 737-301's (23357, HS-AAS; 23511, HS-AAJ), transferred from (ASW).

June 2005: Thai AirAsia (THA) operates domestic and regional low-fare jet airplane flights using 737-300's wet-leased from AirAsia (ASW).

(IATA) Code: FD. (ICAO) Code: AIQ (Callsign - THAI ASIA).

Parent organization/shareholders: Shin Corp (51%); & AirAsia (ASW) (49%).

Main Base: Bangkok International airport (BKK).

Domestic, scheduled destinations: Bangkok; Chiang Mai; Chiang Rai; Hat Yai; Khon Kaen; Phuket; Ubon Ratchathani; & Udon Thani.

International, scheduled destinations: Kota Kinabalu; Macau; Medan; Penang; & Singapore.

August 2005: Will launch daily Bangkok to Hanoi service in September 2005.

October 2005: 737-3B7 (22951, HS-AAV), delivery.

November 2005: 737-3B7 (23378, HS-AAU), (GEF) leased.

December 2005: 737-301 (23259, HS-AEF), (GEF) leased for Thai AirAsia (THA) operations.

February 2006: Kuala Lumpur International Airport's new low cost terminal is set to open in early March, beating the rival facility at Singapore's Changi Airport by about 3 weeks. The new hub is expected to begin operations on March 6, meaning it will SE Asia's 1st dedicated no-frills terminal. The low cost terminal at Kuala Lumpur is expected to house AirAsia (ASW) along with Thai AirAsia (THA) and AirAsia Indonesia (AWR). A decision on whether a lower airport tax would be charged is expected to be made by early March.

The sale of Thailand's Shin Corporation, which owns 50% of (THA), to an investment group led by Singapore's Temasek Holdings sent shock waves through Kuala Lumpur-based (ASW). (THA) was a joint venture between (ASW) (49%) and Shin, the telecom giant founded by Thailand's controversial Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, with 50%. The remaining 1% of the discount airline is owned by Thai AirAsia (CEO) Tasapon Bijleveld.

Temasek, the investment arm of the Singapore government, has a portfolio valued at S$103 billion/$63 billion and is the controlling shareholder of Singapore Airlines Group (SIA) with 57%. It also is a partner in Tiger Airways (TGR) with an 11% stake and Jetstar Asia (JSA) with 19%. It is acquiring Shin Corporation in 2 stages, having spent THB73.3 billion/$1.85 billion for a 49.6% share with plans to invest THB79 billion for the remainder, according to The Nation in Bangkok.

Its acquisition of Shin Corporation pushes the foreign ownership component in (THA) above the 49% level permitted by law. According to sources at (THA), (THA) has several Thai candidates lined up to buy the 50% stake from Temasek, although the latter has not indicated it is interested in selling the holding.

Later, details stated Temasek Holdings, the controlling shareholder of Singapore Airlines (SIA) and a major investor in 2 Singapore-based Low-Cost Carriers (LCC)s, Tiger Airways (TGR) and Jetstar Asia (JSA), will retain a sizable stake in Thai AirAsia (THA) under a new ownership structure announced recently to keep the carrier in compliance with Thai laws on foreign ownership. Temasek acquired Thai telecom giant Shin Corp, which owns 50% of (THA). The other major shareholder is AirAsia (ASW) with 49%. (THA) (CEO) Tasapon Bijleveld holds 1%.

Under Thai law, foreign investors may not own >49% of an airline, an amount that was exceeded given that (ASW) is based in Malaysia and Temasek is based in Singapore.

Under the new shareholding structure, Shin's 50% stake is being sold for THB400 million/$10.2 million to a Thai company named Asia Aviation Company Ltd, which is owned 49% by Shin and 51% by Thai businessman Sittichai Veerathummnoon. (ASW)'s stake will remain at 49%.

Increases in revenue and traffic and "better capacity management on the domestic front" lifted (ASW)'s 2nd fiscal quarter profit to MYR53.4 million/$14.4 million, an increase of +20.3% over the MYR44.4 million earned in the 3 months ended December 31, 2004. Revenues increased +26.5% to MYR225.9 million as the number of passengers rose +19% to 1.3 million and average fare went up +2% to MYR156. The carrier's "cost of sales" climbed +22.2% to MYR139.8 million and it reported an operating profit of +MYR72.9 million, a +32.9% improvement over the year-ago quarter.

Passenger traffic in (RPK)s grew +25% to 1.53 billion against a +22% rise in capacity to 2 billion (ASK)s. Load factor improved +1 point to 76% LF. Yield was 3.91 US cents, up +2%, but unit cost climbed +14% to 2.42 cents. Still, that (CASK) "remains the lowest airline unit cost in the world," according to (ASW). The increase was due to a higher number of "D" maintenance checks over the year-ago period but was mitigated by (THA)'s fuel hedge and surcharges.

"The effective unit cost of fuel is above forecast and remains a concern to management," (THA) said. Its current hedging structure provided a savings of $9.60 per barrel during the quarter. It said the addition of the A320 (it now operates 4) will "contribute fuel cost relief."

June 2006: A milestone quarter that featured the Malaysian government's decision to shift the bulk of domestic operations to AirAsia (ASW) starting August 1 and the opening of the low-cost carrier (LCC) terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

(THA) reported a net profit of +THB41.7 million/+$1.1 million, while Indonesia AirAsia (AWR) "continues to produce losses."

August 2006: AirAsia (ASW) reported net income of +MYR126.9 million/+$34.3 million for its fiscal year ended June 30, an increase of +14% over net income of +MYR111.6 million last year, on a +28% jump in revenues to MYR856 million.

"The revenue growth was driven by a +30% growth in passengers carried, a -4% decline in average fares and a higher contribution mix from ancillary income," the carrier said in statement. "The lower fares enticed strong traffic growth and improved load factors."

Passenger traffic was up +37% to 6.7 billion (RPK)s on a +32% capacity gain to 8.7 billion (ASK)s. Load factor climbed +3 points to 78% LF. Lower fares and a +14% increase in average stage length reduced yields -4%, while unit costs rose +6% to 2.33 cents per (ASK). The carrier added 15 airplanes during the fiscal year, and plans to add 14 A320s in the current year started July 1. It took over most domestic routes previously operated by Malaysia Airlines (MAS) from August 1 in a reconfiguration imposed by the government.

"The Malaysian aviation industry has taken a significant step forward; (MAS) no longer receives subsidies and (ASW) is now an equal status national carrier," (CEO) Tony Fernandes said. "Apart from the price of oil, (ASW)'s prospects remain strong."

January 2007: Airports of Thailand approved the use of Don Muang Airport (DMK) for domestic flights with no international connections beginning in March, according to press reports. Don Muang was to have been closed to commercial traffic in September, when the new Suvarnabhumi Airport opened for business. The "Bangkok Post" said reopening (DMK), which now handles only charter flights, would give airport officials "flexibility" to solve problems at the new facility.

February 2007: Thailand's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) postponed renewal of Suvarnabhumi International Airport's safety certification, and originally was issued to comply with (ICAO) efforts to standardize international airport documentation. No Thai airport is currently certificated by (DCA). Although lack of certification has no impact on operations at the new Bangkok airport, Thai politicians are trumpeting it in their campaign to discredit the deposed Thaksin government, which built the facility. Several terminal gates at a time are being closed, because of repairs to pavement cracks, creating some airborne holds and forcing a few flights to divert to U Tapao a former US Air Force base now used for charter and cargo operations to add fuel before returning to (BKK).

Bangkok Airways (PGB) and Thai AirAsia (THA) have asked that domestic flights be moved back to Don Muang, Bangkok's old international airport, until repairs are completed. A number of other carriers want to use Don Muang, now restricted to General Aviation (GA), charter and maintenance operations, for non-connecting short-haul trips. Airports of Thailand staff has recommended reopening the airport to scheduled flights.

The Bangkok press, eager to side with the government in power, rarely misses an opportunity to criticize Suvarnabhumi. One popular English-language paper quoted an "expert" who said the runways should be rebuilt on piles, so flood waters can flow underneath. Another paper front-paged a story about a leak from a terminal toilet pipe that caused minor damage to a few pieces of baggage on the floor below.

The Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulamont ordered Bangkok's Don Muang International Airport reopened to both international and domestic flights in order to prevent overcrowding at the new Suvarnabhumi International.

He cited increasing traffic at Suvarnabhumi and the need to block some gates to repair cracked airfield pavement. Transport Minister Theera Haocharoen said decisions about which airlines will move back to Don Muang should be made within 2 weeks. The airport should be ready for service by April 1.

Thai Airways (TII), Orient Air (OTH), Bangkok Airways (PGB), Thai AirAsia (THA), One-Two-Go (OTH), and Nok Air (NKA) have said they will operate from Don Muang, which can handle 37 million passengers per year. Thai AirAsia (THA) said it will move its entire 80x-daily schedule back to the old facility.

The airports are on opposite sides of Bangkok, 30 km apart, with no direct scheduled public transportation between them. Thai Airways (TII) has said it will operate a shuttle service, when traffic resumes at Don Muang. Hotels and merchants near Don Muang have joined Low Cost Carriers (LCC)s serving the Thai market in pressing for the reopening. It was closed to scheduled traffic when Suvarnabhumi opened in September.

Airports of Thailand executives said that using Don Muang for short-haul traffic will postpone the need to build 2 more runways and a low-cost terminal at Suvarnabhumi.

March 2007: For the fiscal semester, AirAsia (ASW)'s net earnings soared to +MYR226.6 million from +MYR60.1 million in the year-ago period. Revenues were up +57% to MYR693.8 million and operating income more than doubled to +MYR133.4 million from +MYR58.3 million. (ASW) said its 1st-half performance was "better than management's expectations" and the current quarter "is looking better relative to the same period last year." The company expects "robust profit growth for the financial year 2007" and adjusted its guidance accordingly. It earned +MYR126.9 million in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2006, and expects "double-digit growth" in pre-tax profit this fiscal year. Unit revenues are expected to climb 5% to 10% and unit costs should drop -1% to -3%.

May 2007: AirAsia (ASW) said it will introduce a new service dubbed "Xpress Boarding" that offers passengers the first choice of seats on its airplanes. Cost is RM20/$6.50 one way. (ASW), which practices a free-seating policy, will extend the "Xpress Boarding" service to all airports within its network, including those serviced by its sister companies Thai AirAsia (THA) and Indonesia AirAsia (AWR).

737-301 (23367, HS-AAP), transferred from AirAsia (ASW).

June 2007: Shin Corp of Thailand said that it divested its remaining stake in Thai AirAsia (THA) in order to focus on its telecom business, according to press reports from Bangkok. Shin held 50% of the airline until last year, when it set up a company called Asia Aviation to control the stake, following the purchase of Shin by Singapore's Temasek Holdings. Shin held 49% of that company but sold off the remaining shares to airline management for THB472 million/$14.4 million.

July 2007: 737-301 (23510, HS-AAI), transferred from AirAsia (ASW).

October 2007: A320-216 (3277, HS-ABA), delivery.

November 2007: A320-216 (3299, HS-ABB), delivery.

December 2007: A320-216 (3338, HS-ABC), delivery.

February 2008: A320-216 (3394, HS-ABD), delivery.

May 2008: A320-216 (3489, HS-ABE), delivery.

June 2008: A320-216 (3505, HS-ABF), delivery.

September 2008: To start Bangkok to Hong Kong next month using A320s.

December 2008: A320-216 (3729, HS-ABI), delivery.

January 2009: 2 737-301s (23233; 23234), to Spirit of Manila (SPL).

May 2009: "Robust" growth in passenger numbers and ancillary revenue helped boost AirAsia (ASW) to a +MYR203.2 million/+$58 million 1st-quarter profit, up +26% from the +MYR161.3 million reported in the year-ago period. (CEO) Tony Fernandes said the industry downturn "provides unique long-term opportunities for (ASW), as the lowest-cost producer, to grow rapidly, open new markets, win market share from competitors and speed up the pace of industry consolidation. Our strategy to continuously conduct aggressive promotions and enhance customer service has been successful in driving strong traffic growth."

Passenger numbers soared +21% year-over-year to 3.1 million, driving a +33% rise in revenue to MYR714.2 million. Ticket sale revenue climbed +26% to MYR622.9 million and ancillary revenue more than doubled to MYR91.2 million. Average ancillary spend per passenger was up +85% to MYR29, fueled by "strong support" of (ASW)'s "Supersize" baggage and "Pick a Seat" reserved premium seat and boarding program.

AirAsia Thailand (THA) posted a +MYR30.5 million operating profit and AirAsia Indonesia (AWR) suffered a -MYR11.5 million loss.

September 2009: A320-216 (4019, HS-ABJ), AirAsia (ASW) leased delivery, ex-(F-WWDF).

November 2009: A320-216 (4088, HS-ABK), delivery.

December 2009: A320-216 (4126, HS-ABL), delivery.

February 2010: AirAsia (ASW) earned a +MYR549.1 million/+$161.1 million profit in 2009, reversed from a restated -MYR496.6 million loss in 2008, as it opened 4 new bases and grew market share "in every market we serve," according to (CEO) Tony Fernandes.

(ASW)'s 2008 loss was its 1st since going public in 2004, and Fernandes said he does not anticipate a return to the red in the near future. "There are early signs that the global economy is stabilizing and the benefits are already visible in the aviation industry. Passenger traffic is growing, particularly in the Low Cost Carrier (LCC) segment. The supply-demand conditions are favorable to upward revision of fares in certain sectors."

Full-year revenue climbed +11.5% to MYR3.18 billion on a +24% surge in passenger numbers to 22.7 million. The cost of sales was reduced -10.3% to MYR1.8 billion and operating profit soared +59.2% to +MYR1.28.

12 routes were added last year and bases were established at Penang, Bandung, Phuket, and Surabaya. The Malaysian unit carried 14.3 million passengers, up +21%, as (RPK)s traffic rose +14% to 15.43 billion. Capacity climbed +17% to 21.98 billion (ASK) and load factor slipped -0.4 point to 75% LF. Average fare was down -17% to MYR168.2 but ancillary revenue per passenger rose +46% to MYR29.1. Unit revenue dropped -8% to 13.54 sen and (CASK) was cut -19% to 10.41 sen. It operated 48 airplanes at year end compared to 44 one year earlier.

AirAsia Thailand (THA) lost -THB808.9 million/-$24.4 million, widened -10% from a -THB735.4 million deficit in 2008, owing to a THB1.11 billion charge related to 737-300 re-delivery. Its operating profit of +THB148.4 million compared to a -THB735.4 million loss the prior year. AirAsia Indonesia (AWA) lost -IDR189.3 billion/-$20.2 million, -34% worse than the IDR140.9 billion hit in 2008.

(ASW) expects passenger growth of +11% to +14% in 2010. It will retire its remaining 737-300s and become an all-Airbus (EDS) operator by the 3rd quarter and reiterated its plan to launch operations in Vietnam this year in partnership with VietJet.

May 2010: 2 A320-216s (4278, HS-ABM; 4302, HS-ABN) deliveries.

August 2010: 2 A320-216s (4386, HS-ABQ; 4390, HS-ABR) deliveries.

September 2010: A320-216 (4426, HS-ABS) delivery.

November 2010: The airline group will phase out the last 4 737-300s with Indonesia AirAsia (AWR) by the end of 2010. The group’s fleet stands at 90 airplanes with another 8 set for delivery next year and up to 16 to be delivered in 2012. The average fleet age is <2 years.

(CEO) Tony Fernandes said that forward bookings are strong. "We are heading into our strongest quarter on the back of what is already an amazing performance this year," he said.

Looking ahead, Fernandes said the airline would continue to focus on its own strategy driving costs down, raising yields, improving productivity, expanding its route network and strengthening the emotional bonds with the region’s communities. "Our route connectivity and flight frequency with the (ASEAN) region is unmatched–and we will continue to ensure that it will continue to stay that way," he said, noting that AirAsia (ASW) is ideally positioned to take full advantage of (ASEAN)’s move toward implementing "open skies" in the region by 2015.

Earlier this month, (ASEAN) governments signed the (ASEAN) Multilateral Agreement of the Full Liberalization of Passenger Air Services, whereby designated airlines from (ASEAN) countries are able to fly to any city in a member nation with an international airport.

"We are already recognized as the truly (ASEAN) airline. With governments in the region and beyond, all seeking to maximize revenues from tourism, we are confident that our unparalleled route connectivity, low fares and our branding puts us in a very strong position to capitalize on these developments vis-a-vis our competitors," Fernandes said.

May 2011: AirAsia X (ASX) recorded a +56.5% increase in passengers to 640,000 for the 1st quarter. (ASX) added 6 new routes: — Mumbai, Delhi, Tehran, Seoul, Tokyo, and Paris (and increased its fleet from 8 to 11 airplanes).

AirAsia X (ASX) (CEO) Azran Osman-Rani commented, “Our continued rapid growth trajectory is testament to the breakthrough long-haul model that we have pioneered, which unlocks significant latent demand that exists between SE Asia and the major markets in N Asia, Australia, India, the Middle East, and Europe, which is under-served by traditional low-cost carriers (LCC)s. The longer range of our airplanes is perfectly suited for the geographically dispersed Asia/Pacific landscape.”

January 2012: A320-216 (4980, HS-ABW), ex-(F-WWIZ), AirAsia (ASW) leased.

March 2012: Thai AirAsia (THA) became the second airline in the AirAsia (ASW) Group after Kuala Lumpur-based, AirAsia (ASW) to serve Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo (CMB) on March 1. (THA) airline now operates daily from Bangkok (BKK) with its 180Y-seat A320 airplanes, competing with SriLankan Airlines (LNK)’ 2x-daily, Thai (TII)’s 4x-weekly, and Cathay Pacific (CAT)’s 3x-weekly flights. The 1st flight achieved an 80% LF load factor and Tassapon Bijleveld, (CEO) of Thai AirAsia (THA), commented: “Since tickets for this route went on sale on January 4 2012, we have received tremendous positive feedback and we are very pleased to see that there is much demand for travel between the 2 cities.”

April 2012: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport (BKK) needs another runway but faces obstacles, a senior Thai official said. Thailand Deputy Transport Minister, Chadchart Sittipunt said that, while there is no problem with land availability, regulatory and noise concerns make it hard to expand. “To add another runway would be difficult,” Sittipunt said. He pointed out it would take another year to finish an environmental impact assessment.

The airport, which was built to handle 45 million passengers annually, is swiftly moving toward its capacity ceiling. Its 2 runways limit the facility to 76 flights per hour, and growing tourist arrivals and increasing passenger volumes indicate the need for expansion.

“I think we need an extra runway [to serve as] a relief runway,” said Sittipunt.

(IATA) (ITA) has said Thailand should expand Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (SVB). “Thailand needs to urgently build new terminal and runway capacity at Suvarnabhumi to ensure it remains one of the region’s top hubs,” (IATA) said.

(IATA) commissioned consultants Oxford Economics to carry out a study of 54 countries to better quantify the benefits they receive from aviation.

Aviation contributed THB139 billion/$4.48 billion to the Thai Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or 1.5% of the total, through the output of airlines, airports, ground services, their supply chains and the spending of those employed in the sector and in the supply chains. This number rises to THB818 billion or 9% of (GDP) when its contribution to the tourism sector was factored in.

“These urgent expansion projects must be done in full consultation with the airline users to ensure that costs and design are in line with the needs of those that will pay the bill — the airlines,” (IATA) said.

(IATA) also endorsed the view that Don Muang, Bangkok’s former airport, should be available to airlines and aviation services but should remain supplementary to (SVB) airport.

“Don Muang can fulfill a vital role of relief capacity in the short term. But the long-term solution is a single strong hub for Bangkok at Suvarnabhumi,” it said, because one major hub allows for more convenient connections and improves efficiency as airlines do not need to support duplicate infrastructure.

June 2012: Thai AirAsia (THA) and Orient Thai Airlines (OTH) are 2 of the airlines, the Airports of Thailand authority has approached offering incentives to move back from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International (BKK) to Bangkok Don Mueang International (DMK) according to an article published in the "Bangkok Post" with (OTH) (CEO) accusing (THA) of having demanded exclusive use of Terminal 1 currently used by Nok Air (NKA), Orient Thai Airlines (OTH) and Solar Air ((ICAO) Code: SRB, based at Bangkok Don Mueang International airport (DMK)).

Thai AirAsia (THA) will return to Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport (DMK) by October 1, an Airports of Thailand (AOT) official said. The move was initiated by Thai authorities to ease overcrowding at (THA)’s base, Suvarnabhumi International airport (BKK).

(THA) was the 1st of 14 scheduled airlines to accept (AOT)'s incentives for relocation to Bangkok’s former primary airport.

The incentives package—based on sliding scale reductions in landing/parking fees, space rental and service charges, offers large cuts in these fees in the early years, which will decrease as time goes by.

(AOT) is negotiating with other carriers (primarily LCCs) to come back to (DMK), it said.

Commercial and charter flights operated by 14 airlines will use (DMK)’s Terminal 1, which can handle up to 16 million passengers a year, (AOT) said, adding that it will open (DMK)’s T2 if necessary.

August 2012: Thai AirAsia (THA) will increase services to Myanmar (Burma), a fast-emerging destination.

(THA) will launch 4x-weekly, A320 services to Mandalay from Bangkok (BKK), October 4, (THA) (CEO) Tassapon Bijleveld said. (THA) will also increase daily services to Yangon (Rangoon).

(THA) also plans to increase its (BKK) to Rangoon (Yangon) flights from 2x- to 3x-daily. The new flights “will support both tourists and business people. We hope it will enhance both Thailand and Myanmar’s economic growth,” he said.

1 A320-216 (5283, HS-ABZ), ex-(F-WWIH), AirAsia (ASW) wet-leased.

October 2012: Thai AirAsia (THA), which just has moved its Bangkok operations from the main airport Suvarnabhumi to Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK), has launched its 2nd route to neighboring Burma (aka Myanmar) after flights to Rangoon (aka Yangon). On October 4, (THA) launched the 1st route between Thailand and Mandalay (MDL), Burma’s 2nd-largest city. Flights are operated 4x-weekly (on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) with (THA)’s 180Y-seat A320s.

(THA) launched its 5th route to Mainland China from its Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) base on October 19. (THA) now flies daily to Wuhan (WUH) in central China with its 180Y-seat A320s. The other Mainland China destinations served by the airline (all with daily frequencies) are Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Shenzhen. This means that Thai AirAsia (THA) is now the airline in the AirAsia Group with the widest network to Mainland China. On the new route to Wuhan, (THA) faces indirect competition from China Southern (GUN)’s 3x-weekly at Bangkok’s main airport Suvarnabhumi. The only other route between Wuhan and Thailand is China Eastern (CEA)’s weekly service to Phuket.

1 A320-200, (ICBC) Leasing (ICB) leased.

November 2012: Thai AirAsia (THA) launched its 7th Chinese destination from Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK), to which it recently transferred all of its Bangkok operation from Suvarnabhumi Airport. Starting on November 16, flights to the capital of the Shaanxi province, Xian (XIY), will be offered with daily frequencies using (THA)’s 180Y-seat A320s. Jumnong Junnapinya, Thai Tourism Authority’s Director East Asia, commented: “We expect >2.2 million Chinese to visit Thailand this year; in the 1st 9 months alone, Chinese arrivals were up +39%. Since it offered its 1st route from Thailand to China in January 2009, Thai AirAsia (THA) has grown to become the 3rd largest operator in the market, after Thai Airways (TII) and China Eastern (CEA).”


March 2013: Thai AirAsia (THA) has added +2 more destinations from its Bangkok (BKK) base. Chennai (MAA) will be served with 5x-weekly flights, while Chongqing (CKG) will get daily flights. Chennai is already served daily by Thai Airways (TII), but Chongqing is a new route from the Thai capital. (THA) will now serve 31 destinations non-stop from Bangkok this summer, including 4 others in China (Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, and Xiamen) and one other in India (Kolkata). Tassapon Bijleveld (CEO) (THA), commented: “Both India and China’s economic markets are expanding at exponential rates. Apart from their population and status as rising economic powers, both economic gateways have a very bright future ahead. By linking Bangkok to a new and unique destination such as Chongqing, we are hoping to stimulate investment between the two cities, while bringing new exciting travel experiences to the people of both places. It was a bold move to make, but that is part of our idea about leadership.” He continued: “On the other hand, Chennai (formerly known as Madras) is another cultural hub in India which has a good blend of modernity and tradition. As a Gateway of South India, Chennai is the second largest exporter of Information Technology (IT) in India. We also hope that this new route will open up business gateways for Indian business people who are interested in investing in Thailand.”

April 2013: AirAsia X (ASX) and Thai AirAsia (THA), which are creating a subsidiary based at Don Muang International Airport, have applied for an air operator’s certificate (AOC) in Thailand. Plans are to begin A330-300 long-haul service from Bangkok to Japan and South Korea later this year.

July 2013: Air Asia (ASW) intends to reduce growth at its Malaysia unit this year, taking only six new A320s instead of the previous ten planned, to the benefit of its Indonesian (AWR) and Thai (THA) subsidiaries. The start-up of AirAsia India (AAI), in partnership with Tata Sons (30%) and Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace (21%), previously anticipated for September, is almost certainly postponed to 2014 because of regulatory hurdles.

Meanwhile, AirAsia X (ASX), previously the long haul and now having become the medium haul affiliate of (ASW), is hoping to raise $300 million with an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of 10.6% this month to retail investors. (ASX) plans to expand service in northern Asia and Australia, as well as to establish a Thai hub using 2 A330-300s for flights to Japan and S Korea in partnership with Thai AirAsia (THA).

A320-214 (5703, HS-BBE), ex-(F-WWBI), AirAsia (ASW) leased.

October 2013: Thai AirAsia (THA) has added a new destination from its Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) base. Since October 1st, (THA) has been operating daily to Siem Reap (REP) in Cambodia using its A320s. The 2 airports are just 350 km apart. This is (THA)’s second route to Cambodia as it has been operating daily flights to Phnom Penh since November 2005. While there is no direct competition on the route, Bangkok Airways (PGB) operates 5x-daily from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Siem Reap, and Cambodia Angkor Air (AOL) serves the same route with 3x-daily flights.

Nok Air (NKA) is once again looking at the possibility of opening long-haul operations, despite abandoning similar plans in 2012. A spokesman for the company said that (NKA) is in the process of studying a long-haul operation, but would not elaborate on how advanced its plans are.

(NKA) previously studied launching a long-haul arm in conjunction with Thai Airways (TII) in 2011. Under that plan, (NKA) would have taken 777-200ERs from (TII) to launch the carrier and later transition to a 787 or Airbus A350 fleet.

That plan was put on ice in 2012, as (TII) moved toward a new portfolio strategy under which Nok (NKA) was to focus on the domestic and regional international budget market, while the mainline carrier would be the only entity to operate wide body airplanes.

Thai (TII) now holds a 39% stake in Nok (NKA) following (NKA)'s initial public offering (IPO) in June this year.

It is believed that (NKA) is once again looking at long-haul to compete against the likely launch later this year of a Thai base for AirAsia X (ASX). (ASX)’s Thai joint venture (JV), (THX), was expected to receive its air operator’s license from Thailand’s department of civil aviation at the end of September, ahead of an application for an air operator’s certificate (AOC).

(THX) is 49% owned by AirAsia X (ASX), while Thai AirAsia (TSA) (CEO), Tassapon Bijleveld holds 41% and local entrepreneur, Julpas Kruesopon holds the remaining 10%.

Thai AirAsia (THA) has added a further route to its hub at Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK). On October 28th, it began 2x-daily domestic flights to Khon Kaen (KKC) using its A320s. The 370 km Khon Kaen route faces indirect competition from Thai Airways (TII)’s 5x-daily flights to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. (THA) now operates >100 daily departures from Don Mueang, across a network of some 35 routes.

A320-214 (5812, HS-BBG), ex-(F-WWBE), AirAsia (ASW) leased.

November 2013: The Myanmar to Thailand market is experiencing another surge of additional capacity as airlines from both countries continue introducing new flights. There will soon be about 23x-daily between the 2 countries, up from 14x- only a couple of months ago and 8x- from mid-2012.

So far, the demand has not kept up with supply, resulting in unsustainably low load factors. The intense competition also has led to a reduction in yields. But the market could get a reprieve as Myanmar and Thailand prepare to lift visa requirements. By the end of 2013, Thailand is expected to become 1 of the 1st visa-free countries for Myanmar. This should unleash a new wave of passenger growth, although for at least the short term, the market seems set to continue to suffer from over-capacity.

Thai AirAsia (THA) has added another destination to its growing base at Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) with the addition of daily A320 flights to Kunming (KMG) in China from November 15th. No other airline operates this 1,260 km airport-pair, but China Eastern Airlines (CEA) (2x-daily) and Thai Airways (TII) (daily) provide indirect competition by operating between Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Kunming. Kunming becomes the seventh destination in mainland China to be served by Thai AirAsia (THA) from Bangkok, and it also serves Hong Kong. Among the AirAsia (ASW) family of airlines only AirAsia (ASW) itself also serves Kunming, from Kuala Lumpur.

December 2013: Thai AirAsia (THA) has added another domestic route from its Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) base. On November 30th it began twice-daily flights on the relatively short 320 km route to Phitsanulok (PHS) using its A320s. This brings to 14 the number of domestic destinations served by (THA) from Don Mueang Airport (in addition to 23 international routes). The airport-pair is already served five times daily by another local low cost carrier (LCC(, Nok Air (NKA). There are no services between Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Phitsanulok. On December 1st, (THA) also started daily flights on the 790 km route to Naypyitaw (NYT) in Myanmar, though frequency will be reduced to 3x-weekly from the beginning of January.

Thai AirAsia (THA) has added a new domestic route from Krabi (KBV) to Chiang Mai (CNX). The 1,190 km route will be operated daily using (THA)’s 180Y-seat A320s, and is not served by any other carrier. This is (THA)’s third route from Krabi (the others being Bangkok Don Mueang and Singapore), while AirAsia (ASW) also links Kuala Lumpur to Krabi.

January 2014: Thai AirAsia (THA) chose January 7th as the launch day for its third route to Hong Kong (HKG). On that day, daily flights began on the 1,635 km route from Chiang Mai (CNX) using (THA)’s A320s. Competition on the route comes from Dragonair (DRG) and HK Express (HKA), who both operate the route daily. Tassapon Bijleveld, (CEO) of Thai AirAsia (THA), said: “This day marks another milestone for us as we were very determined to offer more connectivity from Thailand to our popular international destinations such as Hong Kong. Chiang Mai residents will now be able to conveniently access this exciting destination in just two and a half hours with our low fares”. (THA) also offers flights to Hong Kong from Bangkok Don Mueang (3x-daily) and Phuket (daily). From Chiang Mai (THA) now offers 19x-daily across six destinations, dominated by its 12x-daily flights to Bangkok Don Mueang.

February 2014: Thai AirAsia (THA) has begun another international service, its third, from its Chiang Mai (CNX) base in northern Thailand on February 21st. Joining Macau and Hong Kong, the daily operation to Hangzhou (HGH) will be flown by the (THA)'s (LCC)'s 168-seat A320s. The 2,478 km sector will face no direct competition.

August 2014: See video - - "VISIT THAILAND" - -

October 2014: News Item A-1: ThaiAirAsia (THA) has added a new domestic destination to its network with the introduction on October 1st of 2x-daily flights utilizing A320s between Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) and Sakon Nakhon (SNO). Competition on the 521 km route is provided by Nok Air (NKA)’s daily service. Mr Santisuk Klongchaiya, Commercial Director, Thai AirAsia (THA) said: “Until the end of the year, we have advanced bookings for Don Mueang-Sakon Nakhon at an average load factor of 85% LF per flight, a very strong sign that the tourism sector is returning to vibrancy. By offering 2x-daily flights, in the morning and evening, I’m sure we can expand our allure to even more customer groups.” Upcoming events that may encourage travellers on the route include the Wax Castle Festival, the end of Buddhist Lent from October 8 to 9 and the Christmas time Star Parade.

News Item A-2: The continuing sluggish performance of Thailand’s commercial aviation industry has prompted a series of changes at Thai airlines, while the nation’s military government attempts to alter the image of a country that has lost the confidence of tourists owing to ongoing political unrest.

The latest move is a cancellation by Thai Airways International (TII) of its sole remaining Africa destination, Johannesburg. (TII) will cease its 3x-weekly flights to Johannesburg from January 2015.

The move comes as part of a call from new (TII) President Siwakiat Jayema for a -THB4 billion/-$126 million cost-cutting exercise. Siwakiat has also committed to cutting >-6,000 jobs at the flag carrier (TII) over the next 4 years.

Siwakiat is the 3rd President that (TII) has seen in a little >6 months. He took over from temporary President, Chokchai Panyayong in July, who replaced previous incumbent Sorajak Kasemsuvan in January, following the latter’s resignation in December last year.

The poor performance of (TII) (it reported a net loss of -THB7.7 billion in the 2nd quarter) has been blamed on a general lack of confidence in Thailand as a tourist destination, plus endemic over-staffing at (TII).

Recent (IATA) Premium Traffic Monitor estimates point to a continuation of the downward trend in numbers, citing “significant falls in tourism and exports during recent months, when compared to a year ago.”

As a result, (TII) is not the only local carrier seeing a management revolving door. Thai low-cost carrier (LCC) Nok Air (NKA) recently announced that Montree Jumrieng and Suraphon Israngura Na Ayuthya would replace 2 existing board members, and that former (TII) executive, Chokchai Panyayong would also join (NKA). Last week, Nok Air (NKA) announced it would boost its holding in long-haul joint venture (JV) NokScoot (formed with Singapore (LCC) Scoot (SCT)) with an injection of $7.3 million as of late October.

(NKA) said this would increase its holding to 47.5% of the new Thai long-haul company operating out of Don Mueang International Airport. However, the original launch of NokScoot planned to see Scoot (SCT) hold 49% and Nok Air (NKA) 51%; this points to a dilution of the original division with a third company, Pueannammitr carrying a crucial voting balance of shares.

Figures from AirAsia (ASW) also indicate that although its Thai AirAsia (THA) increased capacity out of its Don Mueang Thai base to 3.61 million seats in the 2nd quarter, compared to 2.9 million the previous year (a +23% increase), its load factors dropped -4 points from 82% LF to 78% LF as demand slackened.

“(THA) has lowered its average load factor estimate,” Thai AirAsia (THA) Commercial Operations Director, Santisuk Klongchaiya said. He added that as a result, (THA) will delay the delivery of 3 airplanes set for this year, in line with the recent statement by AirAsia (ASW) (CEO) Tony Fernandes that “expansion is necessary, but we will never stretch ourselves.”

November 2014: News Item A-1: Thai AirAsia (THA) has added a new domestic link to its network. On November 1st (THA) commenced daily flights between Chiang Mai (CNX) and Surat Thani (URT). The 1,067 km route will be operated by the airline’s 180Y-seat A320s and faces no direct competition. Mr Santisuk Klongchaiya Director of Commercial for (THA), revealed: “The inaugural Chiang Mai-Surat Thani flight served a load factor of >90%. The very welcome figure included both local and foreign passengers with an interest in traveling to Surat Thani and its islands, especially Samui Island, where AirAsia (ASW) offers its Island Transfer, a shuttle and ferry service that can be booked with just one click at AirAsia.com.” Thai AirAsia (THA) now serves 10 destinations non-stop from Chiang Mai (including 5 outside of Thailand), but this is only (THA)’s 2nd route from Surat Thani. The other route is a 5x-daily service to Bangkok Don Mueang.

Thai AirAsia (THA) on November 6th began operating daily flights between Krabi (KBV) and Guangzhou (CAN) in China. The 2,261 km route will be served daily using (THA)’s A320s. No other carrier is operating the route. This is (THA)’s 4th route from Krabi, from where it serves Bangkok Don Mueang with 8x-daily flights, Chiang Mai with 11x-weekly flights, and Singapore with daily flights. Thai AirAsia (THA) already operates daily flights from Bangkok Don Mueang to Guangzhou. In total, the AirAsia (ASW) group of airlines operates 13 routes to 10 destinations in China. According to (THA) (CEO) Tassapon Bijleveld, “Krabi is gaining in popularity with Chinese travelers. Figures indicated that visitors from China were the 2nd most frequent fliers on AirAsia’s Don Mueang to Krabi route after (THA)s.” Originating in Krabi, the flight arrives in Guangzhou at 01:30 and departs the Chinese airport at 02:20, arriving back in Krabi at 04:50 local time.

January 2015: 2 A320-216s (6405, HS-BBP; 6428, HS-BBQ), ex-(F-WWDT & F-WWID), AirAsia (ASW) leased.

February 2015: Thai AirAsia (THA) has added 3 more destinations from its main hub at Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK). On February 9th (THA) launched 2x-daily flights to Loei (LOE), Nan (NNT), and Roi Et (ROI). All of these routes are between 400 and 550 km in length and are already served by local (LCC) rival Nok Air (NKA), which operates 2x-daily to Loei and Roi Et and 4x-daily to Nan. However, Nok Air (NKA) uses a mix of ATRs and Dash 8-Q400s on the routes, while Thai AirAsia (THA) operates 180Y-seat A320s.

(THA) now operates over 120 departures per day from Bangkok’s ‘downtown’ airport across a network of 41 routes.

April 2015: Thai AirAsia (THA) introduced a new domestic route from Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) to Buriram (BFV) on April 2nd, when it commenced daily flights. The 320 km sector, which is already operated by Nok Air (NKA)’s daily flights, will be served by (THA)’s 180Y-seat A320s.

June 2015: News Item A-1: AirAsia (ASW) will launch new schedules to 2 new secondary hubs from mid-July. The 1st is a 4x-weekly service from Kuala Lumpur’s (KLIA2) to U-Tapao Airport on the eastern Bay of Thailand, which serves rapidly expanding holiday destination Pattaya. The 2nd is from Singapore’s neighboring Johor Bahru to Bangkok’s Don Mueang Low Cost Carrier (LCC) hub.

Subsidiary (LCC), Thai AirAsia (THA) has also announced plans to start international flights from U-Tapao by the end of the year, and to potentially make the airport its new connecting hub for flights to North Asia, including China. “We already have a strong base in China and [Chinese tourists] like coming to Pattaya for holidays, so it makes sense for us to set up a [new] air link at U-Tapao,” (THA) Commercial Director, Santisuk Klongchaiya said. (THA) has operated principally out of Bangkok’s Don Mueang (LCC) airport.

The new service from Johor Bahru to Bangkok also fits with AirAsia (ASW)’s regional hub-based expansion pattern, which saw the selection of Langkawi as its most recent new Malaysian route hub for the region.
“Johor Bahru is the 3rd largest city in Malaysia with tremendous traveling demand,” (ASW) Head of Commercial, Spencer Lee said. He added the new schedule would help boost international traffic to Thailand, in addition to making connections to existing domestic routes to secondary Malaysian destinations such as Miri, Medan, Penang, and Kota Kinabalu.

The new service would also offer passengers a direct S Malaysia to Bangkok service without having to transit through Kuala Lumpur or commute to Singapore as before, he said.

July 2015: "Singapore’s Changi Airport Signs Up 5 New Airlines for T4" by (ATW) Jeremy Torr, July 13, 2015.

Singapore’s Changi Airport will have 5 new tenants for its new S$1 billion/$750 million Terminal 4, due to open in the 2nd half of 2017.

The new tenants include three AirAsia subsidiaries (AirAsia Berhad (Malaysia) (ASW), Indonesia AirAsia (AWR) and Thai AirAsia (THA)) as well as flag carriers Korean Air (KAL) and Vietnam Airlines (VIE). They will join lead tenant Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) as Terminal 4 launch airline customers.

The new terminal is billed as a replacement for the airport’s previous Budget Terminal, but also as an extension of the airport’s full-service provision. It will boost Changi’s overall passenger capacity from 66 million passengers a year to around 75 million in its initial phases, and will eventually have a maximum planned capacity of 16 million passengers.

Changi Airport Group (CAG) said a mix of tenants will occupy the new terminal’s 4 wide body and 17 narrow body gates; more announcements are on the way.

The terminal will feature new, high-tech processing technology for travelers. This will include a complete self-service check-in facility including automated registration and bag drop, facial recognition immigration clearance, and scanned-in self-service boarding processes.

(CAG) management says the new technologies will eliminate the need for manual verification and lead to shorter queuing times and increased flexibility through usage of the self-service kiosks.

“Passengers can expect to pass through the various touch points more smoothly and stress-free, giving them more time to enjoy the facilities,” (CAG) Executive VP Air Hub & Development, Yam Kum Weng said.

(CAG) speculates the new technologies will also boost long-term growth, which has slowed at Changi over recent quarters. The new systems are billed to bring both time saving and lower operating costs for tenant airlines, with some -40% less processing costs compared to other terminal operations.

However, the lack of direct SkyTrain access to the other Changi terminals has seen local low-cost carriers Scoot (SCT) and Tigerair (TGR) hold back on support for the new facility. Transit passengers will need to take buses from T4 to other departure points, something Scoot (SCT) (CEO) Campbell Wilson was highly critical of last year.

August 2015: Thai AirAsia (THA) has unveiled plans to launch 2 new routes connecting Pattaya with mainland China, as it makes the resort town its 5th operating base in Thailand.

(THA), the low-cost carrier (LCC) will launch flights to Pattaya's U-Tapao Airport from Nanning, the capital of southern China's Guangxi region, and Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi, on September 25 and 26, respectively.

These flights will primarily serve the needs of Chinese tourists wanting to visit Thailand's beaches, enabling visitors to fly directly to Pattaya and the eastern seaboard, without having to drive from Bangkok. "We believe that tourism in the east and Pattaya is growing very rapidly and that U-Tapao Airport is absolutely ready to accommodate regular flights," said Tassapon Bijleveld (CEO) of Thai AirAsia (THA). "These beliefs led us to creating our latest flight base and we chose the 2 Chinese cities of Nanchang and Nanning as its 1st routes. With plans to expand to other routes both domestic and international, we have targeted acquiring 2 Airbus A320s for a fleet at U-Tapao," he added.

The flights from Nanning will operate 4x-week (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays), while the Nanchang service will run on the remaining 3 days of the week (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays).

U-Tapao Airport, the former military base, becomes Thai AirAsia (THA)'s 5th base in the country, following Bangkok Don Mueang, Phuket, Chiang Mai, and Krabi.

AirAsia (ASW)'s Malaysian unit recently launched flights from Kuala Lumpur to U-Tapao, while Bangkok Airways (PGB) and Kan Air also operate domestic flights from the Pattaya hub.

September 2015: News Item A-1: Thai AirAsia (THA) on September 1 introduced 5x-weekly flights between Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) and Bengaluru (BLR) in India. The 2,474 km route will be flown (THA)’s 180-seat A320s and faces no direct competition, although Thai Airways (TII) operates daily 777 flights from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Bengaluru. (THA) already serves Chennai from its Bangkok hub, while AirAsia India (AAI) offers flights to several domestic destinations from Bengaluru.

News Item A-2: Thai AirAsia (THA), AirAsia (ASW)’s Thai affiliate has confirmed plans to launch 1st flights from Thailand’s U-Tapao International Airport, which is set to become the growing airline’s 5th base.

(THA) will begin service at the airport in late September with routes to Nanning and Nanchang in southern China. These flights will run 4x-weekly and 3x-weekly, respectively. U-Tapao, southeast of Bangkok, is primarily a military base (but Thai authorities are aiming to develop it as a new commercial hub). Thai AirAsia (THA) regards U-Tapao as a gateway to popular holiday beach destinations, such as Pattaya. (THA) said there is strong demand for these leisure flights, particularly from Chinese tourists. (THA) plans to base 2 Airbus A320s at U-Tapao, and it will introduce additional domestic and international routes from the airport.

Existing bases in Thailand are: Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport; Phuket; Chiang Mai; and Krabi. (THA) is the most financially successful of the AirAsia (ASW) overseas affiliates, and has been expanding steadily. It is due to take delivery of +2 A320-family aircraft in 2015, which will lift its fleet total to 45. The (LCC) market is booming in Thailand, tapping into tourist-demand growth. However, local carrier Nok Air (NKA) has complained that the rapid growth in the (LCC) sector has created oversupply.

News Item A-3: The Thai government is set to expand the role of Bangkok’s 3rd airport, U-Tapao International, to offer significant passenger and Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) facilities to the region.

The airport is currently operated as a joint civilian/Thai Navy base facility, but will open a new $5.5 million passenger terminal in June 2016, increasing passenger capacity to 3 million passengers a year. Between 2018 and 2020, it is projected to handle 5 million passengers.

Thai Transport Minister, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the airport, based in Rayong Province, is also in talks with Air France (AFA) - (KLM) and Thai Airways (TII) to set up a THB15 billion/$415 million joint venture (JV) (MRO) center there.

Earlier in September, the airport announced Thai AirAsia (THA) would be using the facility as its new Thai hub, operating flights to China linking to the nearby Pattaya tourist zone.

The rapid development of the airport as Bangkok’s 3rd aviation hub comes as maintenance and upgrading work at Don Mueang International Airport (Bangkok’s low-cost carrier (LCC) hub) has been delayed, leading it to postpone its new Terminal 2 building.

Don Mueang faces chronic under-capacity congestion; operator Airports of Thailand said the airport processed some 26 million passengers in the 1st 9 months of 2015, but capacity is rated for only 18.5 million passengers a year.

The Thai Minister said the new (MRO) facility could potentially offer 2 maintenance hangars, a production overhaul facility and an engine repair shop, and would provide up to 350 jobs to local workers.

October 2015: Thai AirAsia (THA) started a 5x-weekly, A320 service from Bangkok (DMK) to Bangalore.

November 2015: "AirAsia (ASW) Sets U-tapao Record" by Boonsong Kositchotethana, the "Bangkok Post" November 28, 2015.

AirAsia on November 27 introduced 4 new routes out of U-tapao airport, setting a record in the Thai aviation industry for simultaneous launches.

The launch of scheduled flights to Chiang Mai, Udon Thani, Singapore, and Macau demonstrated the low-cost carrier (LCC)'s confidence in new traffic catchments, which the sleepy navy-operated airfield in Rayong could create.

Friday's launches brought the number of routes AirAsia (ASW) operates through U-tapao to 8 and it is on course to introduce the 9th route on December 3 with the connection to Hat Yai.

Altogether, (ASW) will offer 46x-weekly through U-tapao, the largest number of connections by a single airline group in the 39-year history of the airport, which served as a major staging and refuelling base during the Vietnam War.

(ASW) is largely enthusiastic about the market response to U-tapao as an air gateway to the Eastern Seaboard, particularly Pattaya.

Tassapon Bijleveld, (CEO) of Thai AirAsia (THA), declared the intention to "gradually" introduce more routes through the airport.
A few more domestic routes such as Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen, and Chiang Rai are on the radar screen, he said.

Internationally, (THA) will be studying the viability of linking U-tapao with India, since many Indians are flocking to Pattaya for holidays, said Mr Tassapon.

AirAsia (ASW), through Thai AirAsia (THA)'s sister airline, AirAsia Bhd of Malaysia, began to descend to the largely empty U-tapao airport from Kuala Lumpur on July 15, triggering traffic flow unseen at the airfield, since it was handed over by the USA in August 1966.

(THA) has already stationed 2 A320-200s at U-tapao, which is now (THA)'s 5th base to support its burgeoning flight activities. Mr Tassapon said the load factors for the 4 routes launched November 27 achieved an average of 80% LF, which is satisfactory.

He credited Pattaya City and the Tourism Authority of Thailand for supporting (ASW)'s bid to make U-tapao a new gateway to the east coast.

November 2015: "AirAsia (ASW) Sets U-tapao Record" by Boonsong Kositchotethana, the "Bangkok Post" November 28, 2015.

AirAsia (ASW) on November 27 introduced 4 new routes out of U-tapao airport, setting a record in the Thai aviation industry for simultaneous launches.

The launch of scheduled flights to Chiang Mai, Udon Thani, Singapore, and Macau demonstrated the low-cost carrier (LCC)'s confidence in new traffic catchments, which the sleepy navy-operated airfield in Rayong could create.

Friday's launches brought the number of routes AirAsia (ASW) operates through U-tapao to 8 and it is on course to introduce the 9th route on December 3 with the connection to Hat Yai.

Altogether, (ASW) will offer 46x-weekly through U-tapao, the largest number of connections by a single airline group in the 39-year history of the airport, which served as a major staging and refuelling base during the Vietnam War.

(ASW) is largely enthusiastic about the market response to U-tapao as an air gateway to the Eastern Seaboard, particularly Pattaya.

Tassapon Bijleveld, (CEO) of Thai AirAsia (THA), declared the intention to "gradually" introduce more routes through the airport.
A few more domestic routes such as Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen, and Chiang Rai are on the radar screen, he said.

Internationally, (THA) will be studying the viability of linking U-tapao with India, since many Indians are flocking to Pattaya for holidays, said Mr Tassapon.

AirAsia (ASW), through Thai AirAsia (THA)'s sister airline, AirAsia Bhd of Malaysia, began to descend to the largely empty U-tapao airport from Kuala Lumpur on July 15, triggering traffic flow unseen at the airfield, since it was handed over by the USA in August 1966.

(THA) has already stationed 2 A320-200s at U-tapao, which is now (THA)'s 5th base to support its burgeoning flight activities. Mr Tassapon said the load factors for the 4 routes launched November 27 achieved an average of 80% LF, which is satisfactory. He credited Pattaya City and the Tourism Authority of Thailand for supporting (ASW)'s bid to make U-tapao a new gateway to the east coast.

December 2015: AirAsia Berhad’s operating segments include associate/affiliate carriers Malaysia AirAsia (ASW), Thai AirAsia (THA), Indonesia AirAsia (AWR), AirAsia Philippines (APG) and AirAsia India (AAI). In spring 2016, the group’s reconfigured subsidiary AirAsia Japan (WAJ) will launch service from Nagoya’s Chubu Centrair International Airport.

“We are witnessing the positive effect of rational pricing and its impact towards passenger travel patterns,” AirAsia Berhad (CEO), Tony Fernandes said in his quarterly outlook statement. “In Malaysia, all signs report toward rational and sustainable growth in the coming quarters, as other players have significantly reduced capacity and rationalized their routes, while the irrational price war that took place in the past is over.”

Citing increased demand by Chinese travelers since May 2015, a +21% year-over-year (YOY) surge, as well as low fuel prices, “we see a great end to the year and a light at the end of the tunnel for [our] Malaysian operations after a series of headwinds that affected our operations,” Fernandes said.

February 2016: Thai AirAsia (THA) has grown its network from Phuket (HKT) with the introduction on February 1 of daily A320 flights to Wuhan (WUH) in China. The 3,013 km route will face competition from China Southern Airlines (GUN) who already serve the market with 9x-weekly flights. Flights to Wuhan arrive at the Chinese airport at 23:00, but rather than night-stopping the aircraft returns straight to Phuket, departing Wuhan at 23:45 and arriving back in Thailand at 03:15 the following morning. Another AirAsia Group airline, AirAsia (ASW), began flights to Wuhan from Kota Kinabalu on January 22.

July 2016: "King Power Group Takes Control of Thai AirAsia" by (ATW) Jeremy Torr, July 1, 2016.

Thailand-based duty-free conglomerate, the King Power International Group purchased a 39% shareholding in low-cost carrier (LCC) Thai AirAsia (THA) in June, giving it a controlling stake.

King Power paid around THB7.95 billion/$303 million for the shares, which it bought from original investor and Thai AirAsia (THA) (CEO) Tassapon Bijleveld. Tassapon will retain a 5% holding in the company.

Local media reports indicate King Power is also looking to increase its stake in the coming months.

King Power (CEO) Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha said (THA) and King Power’s extensive duty-free retail operations “will greatly complement each other, providing cutting-edge services and products. This [move] will accelerate the growth of (THA) and ensure it remains at the forefront of the low-cost carrier (LCC) business,” he said.

AirAsia (ASW) Founder Tony Fernandes said the deal was “a vote of confidence from one of the most successful family businesses [in Thailand].” Fernandes described the deal as “fantastic” and added that the tie up between King Power and AirAsia (ASW) was “massive and we look forward to working together, not only in Thailand but across the group and Association of SE Asian Nations (ASEAN).”

August 2016: Malaysia-based AirAsia (ASW)’s Thai affiliate intends to grow its fleet and international network in the 2nd half of this year, taking advantage of continued strong financial results. Thai AirAsia (THA) expects to receive its 1st 2 A320neos by the end of this year, which will boost its Airbus narrow body aircraft fleet to 51. (THA) added 2 A320ceos in the 2nd quarter. (THA) is a joint venture (JV) predominantly owned by Thai-based Asia Aviation (AAV).

April 2017: Boeing Digital Aviation subsidiary Jeppesen has signed with the AirAsia Group to provide digital charting and electronic flight bag (EFB) services across AirAsia (ASW)’s 6 low-cost carrier (LCC) affiliates.

The multiple-year agreement will cover AirAsia (ASW)’s 6 affiliate (LCC) airlines: AirAsia Berhad (Malaysia) (ASW), Thai AirAsia (THA), AirAsia India (AAI), AirAsia Japan (WAJ), Indonesia AirAsia (AWR) and Philippines AirAsia (APG). The AirAsia Group will integrate Jeppesen FlightDeck Pro (EFB) services on Windows-operating tablets to optimize operations, eliminate paper content and improve fuel consumption, the company said.

The agreement with the AirAsia Group follows on Jeppesen’s existing (EFB) service agreement with another of the group’s affiliates, long-haul (LCC) AirAsia X (ASX).

“We had previous experience with digital Jeppesen services with our AirAsia X (ASX) affiliates and extend[ing] these digital navigation and (EFB) services across the AirAsia Group will allow us to continue our transition to a fully digital operating environment,” AirAsia (ASW) Regional Director Flight Operations Adrian Jenkins said.

May 2017: A320-251N (7591, HS-CBB), ex-(F-WWDC) AirAsia (ASW) leased.

February 2018: Thai AirAsia (THA) intends to grow its fleet and network this year, as (THA) looks to capitalize on Thailand’s surging international tourist numbers. (THA) is the 2nd-largest in the AirAsia Group, behind only the parent Malaysia-based unit. (THA) intends to add 7 more Airbus A320s in 2018, after adding 5 in 2017. This will boost its fleet to 63 aircraft by year-end. (TAA) aims to open new routes in the Indian and SE Asian markets.


Click below for photos:

October 2018:

1 737-3B7 (CFM56-3B2) (1007-22951, /84 HS-AAV), "SCOTCH BIRDS NEST BEVERAGE" (GEF) LEASED 2005-10. 148Y.

0 737-3B7 (CFMN56-3B2) (1339-23378, /87 HS-AAU), (GEF) LEASED 2005-11. RETURNED. 148Y.

0 737-3TO (CFM56-3B1) (1141-23357, /84 HS-AAS), (GEF) LEASED 2005-01. RETURNED. 148Y.

0 737-3TO (CFM56-3B1) (1142-23358, /85 HS-AAR), PACIFIC HARBOR LEASED 2006-12. RETURNED. 148Y.

0 737-3TO (CFM56-3B1) (1159-23365, /85 HS-AAO), (CG) AIRLEASING LEASED 2006-10. RETURNED. 148Y.

0 737-3TO (CFM56-3B1) (11819-23368, /85 HS-AAQ), WELLS FARGO BANK LEASED 2006-03. RETURNED. 148Y.

0 737-301 (CFM56-3) (1124-23257, /85 HS-AAU; 1132-23259, /85 HS-AEF; 1180-23367, HS-AAP, 2007-05; 1200-23233, /86 HS-AAM, 9/04; 1208-23234, /86 HS-AAN; 1219-23236, /86 HS-AAK; 1214-23235, /86 HS-AAL; 1248-23510, /86 HS-AAI, 2007-07; 1268-23511, /86 HS-AAJ), (ASW) WET-LEASED. 23236; 23235; 23257; 23259; 23367; RETURNED. 23233; 23234; TO (SPL) 2009-01. 148Y.

2 ORDERS (2016-11) A320neo:

3 A320-214 (CFM56-5B4) (4917, /11 HS-ABX; 4964, /11 HS-ABY; 5353, /12 HS-BBB), 2012. 180Y.

1 A320-214 (CFM56-5B4) (5703, /13 HS-BEE), EX-(F-WWBI), (ASW) LEASED 2013-07. 180Y.

16 A320-216 (CFM56-5B6/3) (3277, /07 HS-ABA; 3299, /07 HS-ABB; 3338, /07 HS-ABC; 3394, /08 HS-ABD; 3489, /08 HS-ABE; 3505, /08 HS-ABF; 3729, /08 HS-ABI "PANDA;" 4019, /09 HS-ABJ; 4088, /09 HS-ABK; 4126, /09 HS-ABL; 4278, HS-ABM, 2010-05; 4302, HS-ABN, 2010-05; 4386, HS-ABQ, 2010-08; 4390, HS-ABR, 2010-08; 4426, HS-ABS, 2010-09; 4980, HS-ABW, 2012-01). 180Y.

1 A320-200 (CFM56-5B6/3), (ICB) LEASING LEASED 2012-10. 180Y.

1 A320-214 (5812, HS-BBG), (ASW) LEASED 2013-10. 180Y.

2 A320-216 (5283, /12 HS-ABZ; 5593, /13 HS-BBD), EX-(F-WWIH & F-WWDN), (ASW) WET-LEASED 2012-09 & 2013-04. 180Y.

2 A320-216 (6405, HS-BBP; 6428, HS-BBQ), EX-(F-WWDT & F-WWID), (ASW) LEASED 2015-01. 180Y.

1 A320-251N (7591, HS-CBB), EX-(F-WWDC), AIR ASIA LEASED 2017-05. 180Y.


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