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Thai AirAsia cuts 2014 passenger estimates

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand business news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community


The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Thai AirAsia Co has lowered its passenger projection for this year from 13.2 million to 12.6 million because of the political crisis that has hit inbound travel during the past two months.

Santisuk Klongchaiya, director of commercial operations, said the airline had also lowered its estimate of the average load factor for 2014, initially set at 83 per cent, to 80 per cent. Total income and profit are also expected to be lower than previous projections.

The declines are a result of the military seizing power from the elected government last month, as inbound tourism became sluggish after about 70 countries warned their citizens to avoid travelling to Thailand.

Furthermore, growth in passenger numbers is expected to drop from the original projection of 30 per cent to 15-20 per cent this year for the same reason.

Santisuk said Thai AirAsia would delay the delivery of three aircraft set for this year. The airline so far has received four planes since January and will get one more in September.

Last year was one of the best for Thai AirAsia with a load factor over 80 per cent, and it had hoped for a similar figure this year.

Despite a slow May and June, new bookings for July and August have bounced back to 80 per cent of capacity, and those for September had already reached 30 per cent as of yesterday.

The airline also remains committed to network expansion both domestically and overseas.

In the domestic market, Thai AirAsia yesterday announced a new route between Bangkok (Don Mueang) and Sakon Nakhon in the Northeastern region. The new service will begin on October 1 with two daily flights.

Passengers who make reservations online from now until August 10 will enjoy an introductory fare of 390 baht.

The route is expected to run an 80-per-cent load factor during peak season.

Thai AirAsia already operates four other routes from Bangkok to the Northeast – Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani and Nakhon Phanom.

Santisuk said the airline also planned to link Chiang Mai or Phuket with overseas destinations, particularly in China, in order to meet high demand. Chinese tourists are expected to flock into the Kingdom now that visa fees have been waived for them.

Thai AirAsia is also making some strategic plans to deal with Thai Smile Air’s planned relocation from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Don Mueang International Airport in the near future.

Santisuk said Thai AirAsia was confident of remaining the biggest player in the low-cost domestic market.

At Don Mueang, it holds 60 per cent of the market while the rest belongs to Nok Air.

In the wake of the two disasters hitting Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia Group operating in and out Malaysia is reported to have gained a lot of passengers, including Chinese.

However, only a few passengers have shifted to Thai AirAsia.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January

Maya Taylor

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Vietjet

Passenger numbers on domestic flights within Thailand have doubled within a month, rising from 4,000 in January to over 10,000 this month. Having nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel plummeted once more when Covid-19 resurfaced late last year.

Apirat Chaiwongnoi from the Department of Airports says 15 of Thailand’s 29 airports are now operating domestic flights, with more expected to follow. He believes the aviation sector will continue to recover further in the coming 6 months, bolstered by the national vaccine rollout.

Around 120 domestic flights a day are now operating, which is twice the number that were operating at the lowest point in the crisis. Prior to the resurgence of the virus in December, domestic passenger numbers had recovered to 30,000 – 40,000 a day, around 80% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The DoA says airports must continue to adhere to the Covid-19 hygiene measures put in place by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15

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Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Kom Chad Luek

Samut Sakhon’s Central Shrimp Market, the epicentre of Thailand’s recent wave of Covid-19, will remain closed until February 15. The market can reopen once the overall hygiene situation at the market and surrounding area has improved, according to the province’s disease control committee.

Local officials say the shrimp market needs to remain closed until the market structure and nearby residential facilities are inspected. People who violate the order face up to a year in prison and a fine up to 100,000 baht.

More than 12,000 people in the province have tested positive for Covid-19. The increasing number of infections is a result from the active case finding to contain the spread of the virus.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | Thairath Online

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