Thai VietJetAir (VZ, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi) seeks to launch international routes from its base at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Da Nang, Dalat and Phu Quoc in Vietnam next month, Nguyen Thi Thuy Binh, the airline’s CEO, has told The Bangkok Post.
Later the airline will expand from Bangkok to the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar and Southern China, Binh added. He sees growth potential, among others, in the growing inflow of Chinese tourists to Thailand.
The move is pending regulatory approval and the recertification of the airline. In 2015, ICAO red-flagged Thailand for Significant Safety Concerns and required all airlines registered in the country to undergo recertification with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) by August 31, 2017. While 11 major carriers have done so, some, including Thai VietJetAir, have not and have been subsequently banned from operating international routes. As such, Binh is expecting Thai VietJetAir to complete its recertification with the CAAT shortly.
To facilitate growth, the airline plans to add a fourth A320-200 in December. According to the ch-aviation fleet module, the airline currently operates three aircraft of the type. Thai VietJetAir plans to add 8-10 A320 Family aircraft next year, possibly including some A321s. According to Binh, this will allow the carrier to grow from estimated 1 million passengers this year to 2 million in 2018.
The airline’s parent company, VietJetAir (VJ, Hanoi), is also seeking to expand its presence in Thailand with new links from Ho Chi Minh City to Chiang Mai and Phuket, commencing on December 12 and December 15 respectively.
Founded in 2013, Thai VietJetAir is the newest and smallest entrant to the booming, but increasingly competitive, low-cost market in Thailand. Its competitors include Nok Air, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air and Thai Smile, a Thai Airways International subsidiary. The airline currently connects Bangkok with Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phuket, having transferred its route to Haiphong to its parent company due to the international flight ban.