Bangkok Airways plays safe
Bangkok Airways plays safe
Bangkok Airways focuses on upgrading aircraft to sustain traffic on the current network.
Airways says it has no definite long-term plans on expansion or new
destinations, except for the possible resumption of its Macau service
The airline cancelled its Macau service, late last year,
in the face of unrelenting competition from Thai Air Asia, which
operates three daily flights to the casino destination.
declining bookings in Europe -- its main source market for lucrative
Samui and Siem Reap services -- Bangkok Airways is now concentrating on
building local and regional business.
A long-term and ambitious
plan to acquire the A350XWB for services to Europe is in the freezer
and is unlikely to be back on the table until 2015.
continues to take delivery of new aircraft that can be used in the
current network. This month, the fifth of six new A319s will arrive.
The aircraft has a two-class configuration , while the last one, due
next year, will have a single-class. Overall, Bangkok Airways has
ordered four dual-class A319s and two single-class versions.
airline is going to return its two Boeing 717s â€" one in September and
another in October. Also, it still has to decide whether to keep three
A320s to cater for winter season traffic, instead of decommissioning
two of them as earlier planned.
Bangkok Airways vice president â€"
corporate communications, Nandhika Varavarn, told TTR Weekly: â€œWe can
no longer plan long-term because of a volatile environment, whammies
coming up one after another. Also, long- term bookings are in decline.
Our business plan is threatened by instability in Thailand, economic
recession and the recent influenza threat. People tighten their belts
and research more for value. We have to monitor trends closely.â€
Ms Nandhika admits the performance is weak across the network.
routes are affected. This year is the worst year on record. We have to
work really hard to promote even Samui, which previously, sold itself.â€
The airlineâ€'s management uses a network management tool that tags a warning to a route if it is not performing well.
If routes are hanging on the edge, weâ€'ll see what we can do to save
them such as introducing fare promotions or advertisements. We try best
to maintain a service through a season.â€
have changed to pay more attention to Thais, rather than relying mostly
on foreign markets. And Ms Nandhika said that the more aggressive
online promotions have proved effective. â€œWe are happy with average
load factor, though that didnâ€'t mean yield. We can not get everything,
we have to understand that.â€
During Q1, load factor of domestic
routes was average at 75.33% compared to 69.33% of the same period last
year and international routes, 60.98% against 55.77%. Internet sales
contributes 20.83% from total passenger revenue.
statistics of the airline, Thais still travel domestic and outbound but
inbound traffic is less. From January to March, Thai passenger number
increased as much 53.71% from 34,778 to 53,456; whereas, international
passenger number dropped 25.71% to 199,790. In total, Bangkok Airways
carried 298,136 passengers during Q1 comparing to 350,393 of 2008â€'s Q1
(67% international clients, 17.79%, Thais and 15.1%, unidentified).
Nandhika commented that Thais travel more, domestically and regionally,
not only because airlinesâ€' promotions but hotels and tourism related
business also handing out bargains as economic recession impacted and
Thailand double whammy with political turmoil.
In term of
international tourists, she thinks although other countries are giving
deals as well but Thailand is still a preferred choice; only our
politics are stabilized.
Moreover, the political problem has
impacted the airline as a feeder to neighboring country too. She
cautions that if this last long, it surely affect Thailand as a gateway
to Mekong region. Vietnam is a potential competitor because it is not
far away from Thailand.
Furthermore, politics and pandemic have
made it hard to organize events to stimulate travel. â€œIt is not only
pricing but people need reasons to travel so we have to create events.
However, I have to postpone several events that were initiated with
partners because when it was close to the date, something happened that
On the last note concerning the future of
Siem Riep Airways, Bangkok Airways continues to serve Phnom Penh-Siem
Riep route until Cambodiaâ€'s aviation standards are certified by EU,
Siem Riep Airways would return to the sky.