Thai Vietjet set to expand overseas routes
Thai Vietjet (TVJ) is preparing an aggressive plan for international expansion next year with the aim of increasing the portion of international flights to 67% from 41% this year, with new routes to destinations in China, India, Japan and Vietnam.
“We want to be a part of driving the Thai economy by bringing more foreign tourists,” said Woranate Laprabang, chief executive of TVJ.
As of December, domestic flights accounted for 59% of flights operated by the airline, while international flights accounted for 41%.
International routes have increased dramatically from just 1% of all the company’s flights at the beginning of this year, when it only operated one route to Vietnam.
As of November, the airline was already operating 850 international flights in total. It is now serving 92 flights per week from Bangkok to eight destinations within Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan.
The new destinations slated for 2023 include cities in China, such as Kunming, Nanjing and Chengdu.
Mr Woranate said TVJ has had good relationships with Chinese travel agents in more than 20 cities since before the pandemic. TVJ has mainly operated chartered flights to China.
It will also launch ticket sales for the Chiang Mai-Osaka route next week before commencing flights in the first quarter of 2023.
TVJ will also fly to more secondary cities in India, such as Jaipur, Lucknow and Ahmedabad, and in Vietnam to Cam Ranh, Nha Trang and Hạ Long Bay.
TVJ’s fleet comprises 18 aircraft, 14 of which are Airbus A320s which are mostly used on domestic routes. The other four aircraft are A321s, which have greater carrying capacity. These aircraft are used on the Fukuoka and Singapore routes, or serve Chiang Mai when there is strong demand.
Next year, TVJ plans to bring in four more A321 aircraft and will return one of the A320s, which will increase the fleet to 20 aircraft in total.
By the end of 2026, TVJ aims to operate 50 aircraft, including a new Boeing 737Max, which will be added in 2024 to utilise on long-haul routes.
Mr Woranate said airline businesses have been affected by high fuel prices and the surging US dollar-baht exchange rate.