BANGKOK, Thailand (eTN) – Regional air carrier, Bangkok Airways, is increasingly optimistic about the year 2011. According to the airline’s CEO, Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, 2011 should largely exceed the results of year 2010, which was marked by political turmoil in Thailand. “We have seen a very good first half-year with operating profits jumping on a year basis by 11% and total revenues growing by 27%. And the trend should accelerate, as we will soon enter the high season,” he explained to eTN in an interview. Bangkok Airways President anticipates that the airline will transport 3.1 million passengers, a jump of 17% over 2010. while the operating profit would probably soar to almost THB 900 million (US$30.5 million). Load factors would remain the same, around 68% on average.
The airline’s strong bounce back is due, of course, to a more stable political situation, which boosts confidence in both incoming markets and outbound travelers. But this is also due to a very careful management of the airline. “We are still consolidating our assets and try to grow where demand is really strong. Our main drive is to be sure that we can maximize our revenues,” told Bangkok Airways’ President. Over the last 2 years, Puttipong has been looking at improving connectivity for its flights to strengthen its Bangkok hub. All the schedules have been rearranged to be sure that flights from overseas connect in a minimum time to Thailand, Southeast Asia, and increasingly South Asia – especially targeting travelers from China and Korea, 2 fast-growing markets to Thailand.
“Instead of multiplying new routes, over the last 2 years, we boosted our frequencies on our main destinations such as Chiang Mai, Phuket, Samui, but also to Siem Reap,” he told. More codeshare agreements are also in the pipeline. Bangkok Airways already has agreements with Etihad, Air Berlin, Eva Air, and Air France/KLM. “An airline like Etihad can boost the number of transfer passengers by up to 10 times,” Puttipong highlighted. New codeshare agreements are due to be soon signed with Malaysia Airlines, Silk Air, and Finnair.
Since 2010, Bangkok Airways has been fast developing to South Asia with routes to India, as well as Dacca in Bangladesh. “We have excellent load factors to all those destinations with our routes reaching 80%. We now have to increase the yield on those routes where competition is high,” indicated Mr. Prasarttong-Osoth. In September, Bangkok Airways will open a new route to Bangalore with 5 flights a week, before ramping up to daily in December. “We could open new routes, and we also think at other destinations in the region, as well as Indonesia. However, it will only be possible once we have new aircraft,” told Bangkok Airways’ President. The carrier will add 3 more aircraft over the next 2 years: an Airbus A319 scheduled to arrive in November, with another A319 due for next February, and another A320 in October 2012. Bangkok Airways’ current fleet comprises 3 A320s, 6 A319s and 8 ATR72s.