Four-year-old charter airline hopes to offer scheduled flights
February 22, 2014 00:00 By Bamrung Amnatcharoenrit The N
Big opportunity for Jet Air: MD
Jet Asia Airways Co, a full-service charter airline, plans to expand into scheduled flights to secure its long-term growth.
Manager director Chairat Sangchan declined to reveal when the right time would come to launch such a service, but said this new step would be a big business opportunity for the airline. He believes the industry has room for growth, even as newcomers enter the business, both low-cost and full-service carriers.
Currently the firm has six aircraft in its fleet, five Boeing 767-200ERs and one 767-300ER. It aims to have 10 planes by the end of this year and 16 in 2015.
Established four years ago, the Thailand-based airline has become more popular. It started its international charter service by carrying foreign tourists, especially from China.
It now flies from Tokyo, Tianjin, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Shenyang, Beijing and Jakarta to Bangkok and Phuket.
Last year, Jet Asia Airways started expanding into outbound tourism by working with three Thai tour agents to secure its seat capacity.
Yesterday, the firm announced it would work with Journey Far Travel Co (JFT), another local agency, as a partner to attract more Thais to fly with the airline, especially to Japan. In the third or fourth quarters of this year, South Korea and more destinations in China will be added via the JFT cooperation.
Chairat said the political chaos had hurt Jet Asia Airways’ business only slightly so far because its charter flights serve Phuket, not only Bangkok. There have been no cancellations so far.
He remains confident of achieving this year’s sales projection of growth to US$250 million (Bt8 billion), up from $100 million in 2013. The boost will come from the larger fleet and strong partnerships.
Foreign tourists account for 80 per cent of the total sales and the balance is contributed by domestic travellers.
In the future, the company hopes to increase the domestic proportion to 40 per cent, so as not to rely too heavily on the inbound market.
This year, it expects to carry more than 400,000 passengers in total, up from 340,000 last year.
He said the aviation industry this year would be more competitive with new airlines being launched.
He urged amendments to legislation to cope with the fast-changing industry in order to keep Thai airlines competitive with foreign rivals.