BANGKOK Airways plans to spend about Bt2 billion to buy two ATR 72-600 aircraft to boost its flight network this year.
Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, president of Bangkok Airways, said that as part of the network expansion it will increase the number of flights on its new Phuket to Yangon route to three times a week, from mid-November. The airline also aims to link with one or two airline partners for code-share agreements to meet growth in demand.
As part of an effort to expand its business base, the airline would set up a duty-free business unit, said Puttipong, adding that the company was aiming for revenue growth of up to 10 per cent this year.
Regarding the new aircraft, he said: “They will replace the existing two ATR 72-500 aircraft that will be discharged from service in the near future. We will provide two new Airbus 319 rental aircraft in November in order to support our new and existing routes and support our business growth. The firm expects that it will have 40 aircraft in total by the end of this year.”
For the duty-free business unit, it will mange duty free areas and duty free shops in Samui, Sukhothai, Udon Thani and Trat airports. Later, the company will open its duty-free flagship store at Samui airport, with an official announcement next year, Puttipong said.
“I think that the new duty-free business unit will diversify our existing business,” he said. “We are under negotiations with three business partners to set up this business and expect that the new duty free business areas will create revenue of around 5 per cent of total revenue in the next three years.”
The company also plans to set up an aircraft repair centre in Sukhothai province on a site of around 10,000 square meters with investment of more than Bt1 billion. Maintenance and repair services at the centre are expected to start in 2020. The company has also prepared a budget of around Bt1 billion to set up another aircraft repair centre at Suvanabhumi Airport at a later stage.
Next year, the company plans to invest more than Bt100 million on the design of a new reservation system and to apply to use the Amadeus reservation system and sales platform. This system has features such as self-service check-in and Web check-in The new system will be available in the third quarter of 2019.
Puttipong said that by the end of this year the airline expects to achieve passenger growth of around 7 per cent from last year, when it had 5.94 million passengers. It also has growth in advance booking of around 2 per cent from last year. The firm last year generated revenue of Bt29 billion. The firm expects to reach revenue growth 7-10 per cent by the end of this year. It expects to have a load factor of 70.5 per cent by that time.
“We try to provide best services with a unique and good service mindset to support our premium customers,” Puttipong said. “We have created a promotional campaign to support the expected growth in the market. We also have created partnerships, so that we will able to create an ecosystem within the airline industry, which is experiencing high competition.”