Rituparna Chatterjee – Mumbai
Bangkok Airways has plans to expand its operations to Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai with direct daily flights from these locations to Bangkok. The connection to Delhi is expected to launch after a year, while the other two markets are still being studied. Presently, the airline company has one direct, daily flight from Mumbai to Bangkok. “We had also launched a direct daily flight from Bengaluru to Bangkok in 2012 but discontinued it within 10 days since it was difficult for us to handle two connections at the same time. After two years of its discontinuation, we are looking for new destinations like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai. Operating into smaller cities like Ahmedabad might be more advantageous since there is less competition and these markets are growing. While Chennai is one of the largest cities down South,” stated Varong Israsena, sales director, Bangkok Airways.
There are also plans to add a new connection to Myeik in Myanmar. Presently, the airline operates into three destinations in Myanmar – Yangon, Naypyidaw, Mandalay, and Myeik would be the forth destination. Furthermore, there are plans to start charter flights from Thailand to different religious destinations in India. “There is a religious pilgrimage movement from Thailand to Lucknow, Varanasi during the winter season. We have plans to start charter flights to cater to this segment probably from this year. We have done five-six trips on demand in the past two years,” added Israsena.
The airline company witnessed an eight to 10 per cent year-on-year growth in the India market and recorded a load factor of around 80 per cent in the first seven months of 2014. When asked about the challenges faced in the India market, Israsena opined, “The India market is tough. But if you know how to serve the market it is not that difficult. In these three years we have gained the experience and confidence that allow us to grow in this market.”