By SUCHAT SRITAMA
AUSTRALIA'S JETSTAR is taking off today from Bangkok to Fukuoka to capture market demand for the East.
Barathan Pasupathi, CEO of Asia Jetstar, said yesterday that the daily flight would be part of the carrier’s new long-haul schedule. Starting from Singapore, the flight stops in Bangkok and continues directly to Fukuoka – the sixth largest city in Japan.
The new route will complement |its low-cost operator, Jetstar Japan, the largest domestic service there.
Jetstar operates 62 flights a week from Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney to Phuket and from Melbourne and Singapore to Bangkok.
Japan’s waiving of tourist visas for Thai visitors has given a compelling reason for Thais to travel to that land.
The average load for Bangkok-Fukuoka is 75-80 per cent, despite the fragile period when inbound |traffic to Thailand has faded. When the situation improves, the load factor is expected to exceed 85 per cent, giving Jetstar a 10-per-cent yield advantage over the competition.
“Generally, passengers will find our price points 30-40 per cent cheaper than full-service carriers,” he said.
Last week, long-haul operator Thai AirAsia X inaugurated its Bangkok-Seoul daily service. It will soon link Bangkok to Tokyo and Osaka in Japan and is planning to expand services from Bangkok to China, Russia, Australia, Eastern Europe and middle Africa.
Jetstar is introducing its straight-to-gate service at Suvarnabhumi and Phuket airports. Using the enhanced web check-in service, passengers without check-in baggage or visa requirements can skip the queues and head directly to the departure lounge.
Thai authorities can learn from Singapore’s Changi Airport about how to make aviation more competitive by looking at incentive programmes and offsetting the cost of operating at airports.
Airports and the Thai government may design a promotional package for landing, parking and aerobridge rates to help bring travellers back to Thailand.
Changi Airport Group recently rolled out a 100-million Singaporean dollar (Bt2.6 billion), 12-month assistance package to help airlines and their partners in related activities deal with the difficult situation. The aim is to boost passenger traffic and strengthen Changi as a regional aviation hub.
All airlines operating at Changi are given a reduction including a 50-per-cent rebate on aircraft parking fees and 15-per-cent discount on aerobridge charges.
The airport will also reward airlines for growing transfer traffic as well as work with carriers that want to raise operating efficiency.