Bangkok Airways targets regional network expansion

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Bangkok Airways will target route expansion in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) in 2019 and is also looking to sign more codeshare partnerships.

The airline’s president, Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth said network development will focus on covering the most important destinations throughout CLMV to facilitate passengers and codeshare partners.

“We will further utilise our strategic flying hubs which are Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi), Samui and Chiang Mai by offering new non-stop services from these airports to some high potential destinations in Thailand and CLMV countries such as Bangkok-Cam Ranh (Vietnam) which was launched in January 2019,” he said.

He added: “We also plan to launch two new routes from Chiang Mai which are; Chiang Mai-Krabi (one way) and Chiang Mai-Luang Prabang (Laos) at the end of March and the beginning of April respectively.

“In addition to that, we plan to increase flight frequency between Bangkok and popular destinations such as Bangkok-Danang (Vietnam) from 7 flights per week to 14 flights per week, starting from 1 March 2019 and Krabi-Bangkok from 21 flights per week to 28 flights per week, starting from 31 March 2019.”

He said the carrier will increase the number of codeshare partners adding to the partnership it has with 27 airlines around the world, including its latest partner – Philippines Airlines. “In 2019, we expect to sign more agreements with another 2-3 carriers,” he said.

Prasarttong-Osoth said in 2018, the carrier’s reported total revenue was 27,943.6 million baht (US$879 million). Net profit was 356.8 million baht, in which the profit attributable to the equity holders of the company was 249.3 million baht.

More than 5.95 million passengers flew with Bangkok Airways last year and the load factor across its network was 68.6 per cent, which it expects to rise to 70 per cent this year.

He added last year, the company’s subsidiaries and associated companies in airport-related performances were improved. Bangkok Air Catering (BAC) has a 25 per cent market share. BAC currently has a total of 20 airline customers at Suvarnabhumi airport, 12 customers at Phuket airport and Gourmet Primo Co. Ltd has 12 customers.

And Worldwide Flight Services Bangkok Air Ground Handling Company Limited (BFS Ground) has a 56 per cent market share and is serving 79 airline customers. Bangkok Airways Ground Service Company Limited (PGGS) has 49 per cent market share and 69 airline customers.

As for fleet development, Bangkok Airways is set to receive two ATR72-600 aircraft (pictured above) which are set for delivery in the 2nd quarter of 2019.

The airline is looking to expand BAC by opening a new air catering house at the Chiang Mai international airport (expected to be in operation by the 2nd quarter of 2019) and it plans to expand its culinary ventures beyond airline catering by opening a new Thai restaurant called – Ruen Noppakao.

The airline is also in the process of changing its Passenger Services Systems (PSS) from Sabre to Amadeus which is expected to be completed by the end of July as it seeks to enhance passengers’ journey.

Bangkok Airways vice president of sales, Varong Israsena Na Ayudhya said this year the carrier” will transform itself to a fully digital-integrated airline”. He added the airline is aiming to increase the total sales target by 3.5 per cent this year.

“This year, we will still concentrate on increasing sale volume from the CLMV countries which are Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, as we foresee that these countries still project notable economic growth and high travel demand,” he said.