By Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn
She said the airline also expected annual revenue to triple next year, driven by a dramatic increase in its fleet to 10 aircraft, up from just four now.
“We will increase the number of aircraft by 10 more every year. We aim to operate 20 aircraft totally by 2019 and up to 30 aircraft by 2020,” said Binh.
She said that the planned increase in number of aircraft was in line with Thai Vietjet's network expansion focused on three key markets: Vietnam, Southeast Asia and China.
“Thai Vietjet's first priority for the route expansion is to all big destinations within Vietnam. Meanwhile, our second and third priority is, respectively, Asean and China," Binh said.
Binh said that the airline would next year open three new routes: Bangkok to Phu Quoc, in southern Vietnam; Bangkok to Nha Trang, in Vietnam southern central region; and Bangkok to Danang, in Vietnam’s middle region.
As part of the Vietjet Group, which connects Thailand and Vietnam, Thai Vietjet has a fleet of four A320 aircrafts that operate a domestic network with flights from Bangkok to Phuket, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, and between Phuket and Chiang Rai.
Thai Vietjet on Monday held an inaugural flight ceremony for its Bangkok–Dalat service, connecting the capital with Vietnam’s flower city Dalat, which is located on the atmospheric Lang Biang Plateau.
With convenient flight times, quality services and special low fares, the new route is expected to meet increasing travel demand from both ends, and to further facilitate the regional trade and integration, the airline said.
The Bangkok-Dalat route operates a return flight every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, taking about one hour and 45 minutes.
Flights depart Bangkok at 10:30 and arrive in Dalat at 12:15. Return flights take off at 12:55 in Dalat and land in Bangkok at 14:40.
“We are proud to become the airline that operates the most services between Thailand and Vietnam with a total of six routes as of today,” Binh said. “Wherever Vietjet is, our business philosophy is to always try our best to contribute to the development of tourism, trade and culture exchanges as well as to the prosperity of the local community.
“Thai Vietjet will offer quality services to our passengers and bring more opportunities to the people of Thailand, Vietnam and international tourists to use aviation transportation. The launch of Bangkok-Dalat route is part of our efforts to turn those commitments into reality.”
With the additional service, Thai Vietjet has become the first airline to operate the Bangkok-Dalat route, increasing the number of routes by Vietjet group from Vietnam to “the Land of Smiles” to a total of six.
Pham S,vice chairman, the People's Committee of Lam Dong province in Vietnam, said Dalat is a mountain city at 1,500 metres above sea level. With cool weather, Dalat becomes a very attractive holiday destination. Travellers come to Dalat both for leisure and agricultural tourism, especially in hi-tech agricultural manufacturing.
"There are about six million inbound travellers visiting Dalat this year, of which 250,000 are international,” the official said. “We expect the number of international arrivals to Dalat to double to 500,000 within the next three years," he said, adding that the total number of travellers to Dalat is expected to reach more than 10 million by 2020.
S said that the number of Thai travellers to Dalat grew 20 per cent this year, up from about 10,000 people last year.
“About 250 new hotels opened in Dalat this year, of which 30 are three to five-star, making the total number of hotels in the city to 600 in total. They can serve about 45,000 travellers a day," he said.
S said that the existing Lien Khuong International Airport would be upgraded, both in parking space and landing facilities to cater for wide-body aircraft. The development would be completed in 2018.