Thai AirAsia expects to achieve 90% of pre-Covid business next year
Budget airline Thai AirAsia is confident that its business will continue to improve next year because of increasing foreign arrivals and the possibility of China relaxing its travel rules.
Thai AirAsia CEO Santisuk Klongchaiya said the prospects for robust business next year were already reflected in the rebound in passenger numbers and aircraft utilisation rate this year.
Santisuk expressed confidence that Thai AirAsia would fly 10 million passengers this year, thanks to the strong market for domestic flights. Last year, the airline flew only 2.93 million passengers, he said.
As the tourism sector has started to revive, Thai AirAsia’s aircraft utilization rate last month rose to 12 hours, the CEO added.
He said Thai AirAsia expected seat occupancy would reach 81% by the end of this year.
Thai AirAsia has a 32% share of the domestic market.
The budget airline believes its flights and passengers would return to pre-Covid levels next year because of the strong domestic passenger market and return of foreign tourists, he said.
Thai AirAsia has the biggest fleet among low-cost airlines in the country with 53 planes and it is confident that China would start relaxing its travel restrictions in the first quarter of next year.
Once China reopens its country to foreign tourists and allows its people to travel outside the country, Thai AirAsia would deploy 10 of its planes that are now grounded, Santisuk added.
He said Thai AirAsia has changed its strategy not to depend on a particular market and has opened routes to India, South Asia and Asean nations as well as a route from Don Mueang to Fukuoka, Japan this year.
“Next year, we’ll open new routes to Nepal, Pakistan, and other cities in India. This gives us the confidence that the volume of our passengers next year will reach about 90% of the pre-Covid level,” Santisuk said.
One of the latest routes is Don Mueang-Taipei, which has four flights per week. Flights can now be booked via airasia Super App, the CEO added.