By The Nation
The carrier also aimed to increase passenger numbers by up as much as 7 per cent this year from last year, Puttipong said at a press conference.
He said that in 2017 the company’s total revenue was Bt28.49 billion, an increase of 6.5 per cent from the previous year. Net profit was reported at Bt846.4 million, with the profit attributable to the equity holders of the company coming to Bt787.9 million. Earnings per share were Bt0.38.
The number of passengers carried last year 5.994 million passengers, rising 5 per cent from the previous year. For 2018, alongside the revenue goal of 10 per cent growth and a 7 per cent in passenger numbers, the passenger load factor is expected to be 70 per cent.
On the outlook and direction, the company will focus on expanding its network to cover the most important destinations throughout Asia “in order to facilitate our passengers and our code-share partners”.
“The company will further utilise our strategic flying hubs, which are Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi), Samui, and Chiang Mai, by offering new non-stop services from these airports to some high potential destinations in Asia, such as Chiang Mai–Hanoi, which is scheduled to operate from March 25, and Phuket-Yangon, expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2018,” Puttipong said.
For Samui, the company plans to offer some new charter services to cities with high potential in China, such as Samui-Xian and Samui-Changsha. “In addition, increased frequency will be added to our popular domestic and international routes such as Bangkok-Phuket, which will be increased to 66 flights a week, Bangkok-Vientiane to 14 flights a week and Bangkok-Mandalay (Myanmar) to 11 flights a week,” Puttipong said.
"This year, the company plans to increase the number of our code-share partners. In 2017, we signed code-share agreements with four leading airlines: Xiamen Airlines, Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines.
“To date, Bangkok Airways is in partnership with 24 airlines around the world, including our latest partner, El Al Israel Airlines. In 2018, we expect to sign more agreements with another four to six carriers.”
As for aircraft delivery plans, the airline has a total of 38 aircraft in the fleet.
“The company expects to receive two Airbus A319 aircraft and is planning to adjust the ATR72 fleet by removing six of our ATR72-500 and replacing them with the brand-new aircraft ATR72-600s, which will continue the total number of 38 aircraft for 2018,” he added.
This year, the company also plans to invest more in airport-related businesses in order to enhance the company's overall performance. The company plans to build a hangar at Sukhothai airport, which can accommodate aircraft maintenance up to C-Check levels.
The company also plans to expand its Bangkok Air Catering business by opening one more air catering house at the Chiang Mai International Airport, with operations expected to begin in 2018.
The company’s vice president for sales, Varong Israsena Na Ayudhya, said that this year, the company would concentrate on the CMLV countries - Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam - as these countries projected to achieve notable economic growth and high travel demand.
“Apart from these markets, we are eyeing the Chinese market, especially Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Chongqing. which are growing in terms of economic scale,” Varong said.
“Bangkok Airways currently operates daily non-stop flights between Samui-Hong Kong, Samui-Chengdu, Samui-Guangzhou and Samui-Chongqing and is planning to launch new charter services to Xian and Changsha in the near future.
"For domestic sales, we plan to tap into the corporate travel sector and government travel sector as we see higher travel demand in these two particular groups.
“We believe that our products are very well suited for these travellers. For Thai markets, we will roll out some special promotions throughout the year as well as attending some important domestic travel fairs including the Thai Tiew Thai Fair and the Samui Travel Fair to generate advance sales.”