In its 50th year anniversary, Bangkok Airways will continue to focus on growing its Asian network while reaching out to new target markets around the world, with sights set on growing total revenue by 10 per cent this year.
Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, Bangkok Airways president, further shared that the airline expects passenger volume to increase by seven per cent in 2018, given an estimated load factor of 70 per cent.
In terms of its network strategy, the airline will continue to focus on “the most important destinations throughout Asia”, said Puttipong. For example, it is expected to commence Chiang Mai-Hanoi services from March 25 and Phuket-Yangon in 4Q2018.
For Samui, the company plans to offer new charter services to high potential cities in China such as Xian and Changsha. In addition, the airline will step up frequency on 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 to 11 flights a week.
Bangkok Airways also plans to sign codeshares with another four to six carriers this year, adding to the 24 airline partners globally, including its latest, El Al Israel Airlines. Bangkok Airways also signed codeshare agreements with Xiamen Airlines, Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines last year.
“As for aircraft delivery plans, we currently have a total of 38 aircraft in our fleet. We are expecting to receive two Airbus A319 aircraft and we are planning to adjust our 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,” said Puttipong.
Among development plans are the addition of new international passenger lounges at Suvarnabhumi airport as well as the launch of a new version of the airline’s mobile application.
On the airline’s efforts in key markets, Varong Israsena Na Ayudhya – vice president-sales revealed: “This year, Bangkok Airways will concentrate on CMLV (Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam) as we foresee that these countries (will undergo) notable economic growth and high travel demand.”
Other target markets include those in China – especially Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing. Bangkok Airways currently operates Samui-Hong Kong, Samui-Chengdu, Samui-Guangzhou and Samui-Chongqing, and is planning to launch new charter services to Xi-An and Changsha in the near future.
“We still remain interested in other continents such as the Americas, South Africa and Europe, especially Russian-speaking countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan that project high spending power, has encouraged us to appoint sales representatives in these countries,” Varong said.
Meanwhile, the airline plans to increase its OTA revenue by 30 per cent. After signing an MoU with Expedia, the airline is now eyeing partnerships with more global OTAs as well as local ones in non-English speaking countries such as Spain and Russia.
In 2017, Bangkok Airways reported revenues of approximately 28.5 billion baht (US$909.5 million), up 6.5 per cent from the previous year, and 846.4 million baht in net profit. Number of passengers in 2017 also grew by five per cent to reach nearly six million.