Thai airlines say recovery being held up by high fuel prices

PHOTO: Flickr/Olivier Hoarau

The head of commercial operations at Thai Lion Air says high oil prices continue to hinder recovery in the aviation sector. Nuntaporn Komonsittivate says that, while tourism is slowly improving since the easing of entry restrictions, airlines are still struggling.

“The airline business has grappled with the pandemic for more than 2 years. Oil prices account for 30% of operational costs, and at $100 – 110 per barrel right now, the situation has worsened.”

The Bangkok Post reports that TLA has had to adjust its domestic schedule to meet load targets for each flight and to reduce the losses incurred as a result of high fuel costs. Nuntaporn says suddenly increasing air fares is not an option, particularly during low season. She adds that the only advantage to high fuel costs is that it might persuade domestic tourists to fly instead of driving to their destination.

TLA has now resumed flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang to the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, 3 times a week, with a load factor of 50 – 60%. The carrier plans to add more international flights in the second half of this year.

Meanwhile, Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth from Bangkok Airways says Russia’s war in Ukraine, coupled with rising inflation and the Omicron variant, are still important factors, but that the airline is set to recover.

Over at Thai Air Asia, CEO Santisuk Klongchaiya says in the first quarter of this year, the airlines posted a loss of 2.37 billion baht, compared to 1.86 billion during the same period last year. This is despite revenue growth of 55% and a 48% increase in passenger numbers.

TAA has increased its frequencies and routes in response to growing demand during the first quarter of the year. Santisuk says the carrier will add more international flights, including to Japan, following the easing of travel restrictions in the second quarter of the year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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