Japanese LCC Peach Aviation will commence its Bangkok-Okinawa service from February 19, making Thailand its first South-east Asian destination in its expanding network.
“I hope Peach will be a ‘bridge of Asia’ and enable Thais, South-east Asians and Japanese to have convenient journeys by planes,” said Shinichi Inoue, Peach’s representative director and CEO.
Inoue expects the average load factor on the new route to be 75-80 per cent in the first year of operation, compared with the airline's average load factor of 87 per cent.
Airfares will range between 3,180 (US$89.86) and 13,983 baht per trip, about half that of a full-service flight.
Meanwhile, the company is looking to expand its Airbus 320-200 fleet from its current 18 to 35 in 2020, mainly to serve business growth in Asia-Pacific, especially South-east Asia.
Inoue was tight-lipped about where Peach’s next destination in South-east Asia would be, but said the LCC was keen to use Japanese-style services to compete with incumbents like AirAsia X.
Peach uses Hana Airport in Okinawa as its secondary hub to expand business to South-east Asia, with other existing hubs being Kansai International Airport and Haneda Airport. It is scheduled to establish additional hubs at Sendai Airport in 2017 and Shin-Chitose Airport in 2018.