Thai Air Asia considers regional expansion 

A Thai AirAsia Airbus A320 approaching to land.
Andy Mitchell from Glasgow, UK, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Thai Air Asia or AAV has released its quarterly results for the fourth quarter of last year, and is looking to expand its operations. The airline posted its EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) standing at 1,6 billion baht or 45 million USD respectively.

The EBITDA shows that the airline is recovering strongly from the heydays of the pandemic. Thai Air Asia is also expecting better days coming ahead with the reopening of China, and with that being said, the airline is prepping for its ramping up of operations. 

Not only the Chinese market


AirAsia and other major Thai Airlines are gearing up for the launch in the Chinese market, but Air Asia is also eyeing other destinations as well beyond China. ASEAN (South East Asia) countries and South Asian countries are not on the radar for the Thai low-cost carrier.

This includes the route from Bangkok Don Mueang to Jakarta, Indonesia, where this route is only flown by Air Asia Indonesia (QZ), Manila, The Philippines with the route already flown by Philippines Air Asia Z2, to Kathmandu in Nepal and Colombo in Sri Lanka.

This regional expansion shows that the ASEAN and South Asian markets are very resilient. As some flights are already flown by other subsidiaries and airlines, this shows that the ASEAN market is experiencing a capacity shortage, permitting Thai Air Asia to fly on competitive routes. 

Flights to Jakarta and Kathmandu from Don Mueang Airport are also performed by Thai Air Asia’s competitor, Thai Lion Air. 

Capacity


Thai Air Asia is the largest low-cost carrier in Thailand, in terms of fleet size and market share. The airline has 53 aircraft in its fleet and all have an average daily serviceable hour of approximately 12.5 hours per day. 

Thai Air Asia primarily operates the Airbus A320-200 with 41 flying, 10 A320-200NEOs and 2 A321-NEOs. 

Airline trajectory


The Thai airline is certainly out of the pandemic woods and is poised to increase its capabilities to greater heights by expanding its operations to countries served by its international subsidiaries, such as Jakarta and Manila.

Based out of Don Mueang Airport, the airline flies regionally to neighbouring countries and also to India. However, the airline’s management team earlier decided to add some of its flights out of Bangkok’s main airport, Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

This included services to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and to other numerous destinations in Thailand, including Chiang Mai, Krabi and Phuket.

Furthermore, its long-range low-cost arm of Air Asia X also currently flies out of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport instead of Don Mueang airport like in the pre-pandemic days.

We will see Air Asia growing constantly using a two-base system from Suvarnabhumi (BKK) using the A330 operated by Air Asia X and Don Mueang (DMK) with narrowbodies over the years. As of now, there are no plans for Air Asia X to return to DMK any time soon. 

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