New startup Thai regional carrier M-Landarch Airlines has ambitious plans to launch services in southern Thailand to connect the historical city of Betong with major cities in the southern region. Last year the airline recently signed a deal to purchase 5 Cessna Caravans, with 2 arriving in 2024.
The Blue Ocean Strategy
This strategy is considered a new model in the Kingdom, as this will connect Betong, Narrathiwas and Surat Thani using Had Yai Airport as a base.
Thailand lacks intra-regional connectivity, where most flights originate from Bangkok, with some from Phuket and even less frequent from Chiang Mai.
This strategy will be one of the first to be implemented in southern Thailand, using a major southern Thai city, Had Yai in this case, to regional southern Thai cities.
5 Aircraft within 5 Years
The airline plans to bring in 5 aircraft within half a decade, with the first two arriving in 2024. The company’s managing director Jakara Thongchim stated that the services will be in high demand and that it is very important to locals travelling within the region.
The airline’s Managing Director Jakara Thongchim stated on prachachat.net “There is a need for necessary air travel in the southern region, as many business travels is done so by road.’
The Cessna 208B
The Cessna 208B will be the chosen aircraft for M-Landarch airline’s mission 12 seats. The company’s top man also stated that “the aviation market in Thailand, despite rebounding from Covid-19 successfully, the airline will play it safe in opting for a small, but efficient aircraft to weather through though periods.”
Moreover, the Caravan is the perfect aircraft for missions of less than 1 hour. In the initial phases, the airline will fly from Had Yai to Sura Thani, Betong and Narrithiwas, with these destinations will be served 1-3 times per day, depending on the given demand.
Initially, the airline will fly to popular destinations, such as Phuket and Krabi. In fact, the airline is also eyeing destinations in Malaysia, such as Langkawi and Penang.
Why flying to Betong is such a big deal
Betong recently opened a new regional airport but failed to attract airlines, let alone aeroplanes. As has been written, Nok Air flew to Betong briefly, but pulled the plug, citing operational and commercial issues.
Since then, there have been rumours about the resurrection of the route, along with Bangkok Airways flying to the destination, but nothing has come to fruition.
M-Landarch Airlines reiterate that they have learnt ‘mistakes’ from Nok Air, and are confident their strategy will outlive Nok Air’s operation. M-Landarch airlines’ move to fly to Betong is welcomed by local authorities and businesses as they bring tourists and business people.
Betong Airport now banks in on this airline start-up to jumpstart its airport operations.
According to prachachat.net, the airline has officially requested an Air Operating License (AOL) from the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), and is now working closely with the authorities to secure an Air Operator Certificate: AOC.