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British Airways appoints Thai as commercial manager/SE Asia

Billy Chomsakorn, left, new commercial manager for Thailand, and Robert Williams, regional commercial manager for Southeast Asia, yesterday reveal British Airways

Billy Chomsakorn, left, new commercial manager for Thailand, and Robert Williams, regional commercial manager for Southeast Asia, yesterday reveal British Airways

British Airways has appointed local managers in Southeast Asia to tackle competitive markets and promote online sales as part of its global strategy.

Robert Williams, commercial manager for Southeast Asia, said Britain's national airline in April appointed Billy Chomsakorn as commercial manager for Thailand.

Billy is the first Thai manger since the airline entered the market here 82 years ago. He oversees mainly commercial sales as well as the online market.

Earlier, the airline appointed a Singaporean as country commercial manager to deal with the competitive environment in the current situation.

BA operates out of Thailand and Singapore in this region. It is eyeing opportunities for growth.

In Thailand, only a few locals have been appointed by foreign airlines as country managers. Northwest and Emirates used to hire locals for top positions, but many Thais have been sitting at sales and marketing areas.

"The airline is set to focus more on local markets and will go online too," Williams said.

BA, like many other airlines, has separated commercial activities from airport operations, so it now has another manager at the airport.

It recently moved its operations base at London's Heathrow Airport to a new terminal with more facilities.

BA will continue to use new strategies, particularly online marketing, to boost sales as well as niche markets like student groups and expatriate travellers.

"With my 20 years in the travel industry, I'm now [supposed] to keep the business growing amid the tough situation," Williams said.

Three airlines are operating direct flights from Bangkok to London, totalling four a day. Thai Airways International has two flights, BA a daily flight and Taiwan's EVA Air another daily service.

The average load factor on the Bangkok-London route remained steady despite the political uncertainty in Thailand. There was a minimal drop after the military coup on May 22.

The airline will continue adding more promotions and activities to boost sales from the Thai market. It is now offering until month's end a round-trip ticket from Bangkok to London at Bt35,635 all-inclusive, compared with the regular fare of more than Bt40,000.

The airline plans to run more campaigns soon by joining with credit-card companies. It will also offer special deals for Thai students.

The airline's fares can compete with those of Thai Airways and other airlines flying out of Bangkok. It configures its aircraft with three seating sections for economy, economy plus and business class.




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