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Bangkok Airways Outlines Expansion Plans

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Bangkok Airways has said that its priority this year is to increase frequency on existing routes, while expanding its network through codeshare opportunities.

 Last year the airline added three destinations in South Asia - Mumbai, Bangalore and Dhaka. This year, it will start a Samui-Kuala Lumpur route and a nonstop Bangkok-Lampang service. It is also looking to increase flights on trunk routes and work on codeshares with new partners to feed traffic to its domestic network.

Bangkok Airways president, Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth said, “We are very active this year. Our priority is to add frequency on many of our domestic and international routes that show high demand. We are working with more airlines to codeshare and strengthen Bangkok Airways’ network. However, we will have to adapt our strategies to the global economic situation and fuel prices.”

The airline reported recently a Bt1.22 billion profit, soaring 56.7% from Bt778 million in 2010. The carrier carried 3,089,088 passengers, a 16.5% increase over 2,651,323 in 2010. For 2012, it expects to see Bt1.6 billion baht profit (33% increase) with 3.6 million passengers (16% increase).

“Thailand’s tourism this year seems promising as long as the political scene is stable. We can get back on our feet fairly quickly after a crisis and Thailand is a destination that remains popular. We are confident we can grow business in 2012,” Mr Puttipong added.

From 25 March, Bangkok Airways will add an extra flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket increasing to six and seven daily flights. Also on the same day, it will commence 12 weekly direct-flights between Bangkok and Lampang.

From 31 March, it will commence a regional daily service from Samui to Kuala Lumper which the airline expects about 60% load factor. It will also increase the Samui-Hong Kong service from daily to 10 flights a week.

On codeshares, the carrier is working closely with Malaysian Airlines and hopes to launch codeshare flights for the summer schedule.

In January, the carrier launched codeshare flights with Finnair. Other codeshare partners include Thai Airways International, Etihad Airways, KLM, Air France, EVA Air, Air Berlin and Silk Air.

Regarding routes to South Asia that were introduced last year, Mr Puttipong said passenger uplift to and from Mumbai, Bangalore and Dhaka had improved steadily. “We are looking at Delhi once we gain traffic rights from the authorities. This could happen in time for the winter schedule 2013 when new planes join the fleet,” he said.

This year PG will receive one A319 in March and two A320s – one in October and another in December.

Currently, Bangkok Airways serves seven domestic routes: Chiang Mai, Lampang, Sukhothai, Pattaya (U-Tapao), Trat, Phuket, Samui and Krabi and eleven international routes: Hong Kong, Singapore, Luang Prabang, Phanom Penh, Siem Reap, Yangon, Maldives, Dhaka, Mumbai, Bengaluru And Kuala Lumpur. The fleet consists of 18 aircrafts (8 ATRs, 3 Airbus A320s and 7 Airbus A319s).

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