Thai Summer Airways Is All Set to Take Off as Air Travel Demand is Surging Slowly

LONDON – Thai Start-up airline, Thai Summer Airways has shown positive signs of take-off as the air travel demand is surging post-pandemic crisis.

The carrier was aiming for its launch in 2019, but the program had to be kept on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic which engulfed the globe and affected the air transport industry at epic proportions.

Owned by Thai and Chinese firms with a background in tour and business travel verticals decided to put the launch of their prestigious new Thai registered carrier on hold rather than quit the onset of the Pandemic which had put the global aviation industry in the shockwave with their future in the coming days.

Speaking on this occasion to Smart Aviation Asia Pacific, Thai Summer Airways CEO Akkarapat Leechotphaisan said:

“Thai Summer will be up and running in this year’s third quarter with our inaugural flight set to occur by the end of July.”

Thai Summer Airways’ future ahead

Thai Summer Airways (TSA) will capture the number one position in the start-up category to start its flying operations in more than five years, joining eight more carriers that are Thai registered and still making substantial efforts to move out of the pandemic crisis.

Certainly, this bold move of TSA was bound to make news in the airline industry and particularly in Asia, as the carrier decided to take to the skies despite uncertainties that could be faced by the start-up carriers.

But TSA decided to play against all the odds and started their flight operations prechecks with the authorities and regulatory bodies to resume operations.

The start-up journey for TSA has always been quite turbulent, as the TSA was founded in 2018, but it had to wait for more than two years till it was offered Air Operator Certificate (AOC) in September 2020 by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

Despite obtaining the AOC amid the acute Covid crisis, the carrier didn’t lose time and started lining up for the fleet acquisition, hiring pilots and ground staff.

On the journey so far since 2018, Mr. Akkarapat Leechotphaisan asserted that “TSA is all set to launch, as they have worked dedicatedly non-stop over the past two years.”

As the world is looming out of pandemic crisis and many nations in Asia are gradually opening their borders for international travelers, air travel demand can be seen to surge, and this has produced an opportunity for TSA to take to the skies.

TSA Fleet Expansion Strategy

As of today, TSA has sole Boeing 737-800 on its fleet, based at Pattaya’s U-Tapao International Airport.

However, the carrier has strategies to equip TSA with second narrow-body aircraft by adding another Boeing 737-800, which will offer 180 seat capacity.

Furthermore, TSA has also ramped up its efforts to acquire a third Boeing 737-800 by 2023 second quarter, when the air travel demand has pet up and the borders are completely open for international visitors.

The LCC Model and TSA choice

Thai Summer Airways has narrowed down on its choices since the carrier will be initially operating with a single Boeing 737-800 aircraft, thus bringing the expanded network options to a halt.

With the ongoing aircraft, TSA will be focusing on its charter operations to Hong Kong and Taiwan, gradually moving up to scheduled low-cost carriers offering flights between Thailand and Asian countries.

Mr. Akkarapat Leechotphaisan asserts that “TSA will spread its wings cautiously as not to exhaust its resources and means given that air travel demand will take time to really rebound.”

“The airline would also like to grow modestly, but consistently to prove to CAAT that it is qualified for a license to operate scheduled services.”

Furthermore, the choice has been based on the entry criteria for the start-up airlines as laid down by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand. Stringent requirements have made TSA prefer charter operator license rather than scheduled carrier as it involves fewer efforts and simple requisites.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, the carrier must prove a registered capital infusion of 50 million Thai Bhatt (USD 1.4 million) as a charter operator, whereas for the scheduled flight AOC TSA would require proving a registered capital infusion of 200 million Thai Bhatt (USD 5.8 million).

As the carrier has been waiting to launch since 2018, with the addition of the pandemic crisis, TSA had its two Boeing 737-800 idle on the ground, which TSA had to return to the lessor and had to acquire new aircraft to start the operations.

Target Markets

As TSA has come close to its final leg of struggle before its first flight, the carrier must make a difficult choice to concentrate on its target market and audience. But as the current AOC will restrict TSA for only charter operations, the carrier is aiming at the inbound charter traffic flows from neighboring countries like Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.

Furthermore, TSA is also aiming for Thailand’s bigger travel markets India and Sri Lanka, along with Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou on its Chinese counterpart once China opens its borders which are currently shut due to the Covid-19 resurgence.

But these China operations could further hinder the TSA plans, as China has now pledged to Zero Covid Policy which could take a bit longer for the country to open its borders and smoothen the air travel.

Mr. Akkarapat Leechotphaisan in his interviews said that “TSA has never planned for China to be its initial source market, even before the pandemic, So we do not need to wait until China is opened to take to the skies.”

But he further asserts that TSA will be looking forward to entering the Chinese mainland market only after TSA equips itself with three more Boeing 737-800 that would cater to the demand of the TSA.



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