Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth said, “The country’s performance in tourism is now on the right track and is improving to where we should see around 5-8% in terms of economic growth. Bangkok Airways is expecting a productive year with some 27% business expansion with a total revenue of 10.5 billion baht plus a 19% increase over the 2.6 million passengers achieved in 2010.
This reflects Thailand position as Asia’s most popular destination. We will also benefit from the growth of the neighbouring countries since Thailand is widely used by tourists a gateway and stopover for other SEA countries. Serving ‘new exotic routes’ exemplified by the opening of Bangkok-Mumbai on 02 March and Bangkok-Dhaka on 27 March is part of our 2011 expansion strategy. We are confident of achieving a 60% overall load factor for both routes. Mumbai and Dhaka are large-financial centres with some 700,000 Indian nationals flying to Thailand in 2010 and over 60,000 passengers from Dhaka. A 15-20% increase on these numbers is expected this year. The fare will be competitive and services in ‘Asia’s boutique Airline’ style will be as provided on all Bangkok Airways routes. Bangkok Airways will provide 6 flights/week by Airbus A319 to Mumbai with 12 business class seats and 108 economy seats and 7 flights/week to Dhaka by Airbus A320 with 162 economy seats.
“A new Airbus A319 or A320 will be delivered at the end of the year to boost flight frequency. The overall flight frequency in 2011 will be increased to 20%. The additional Trat-Samui-Phuket route introduced in 2010 for instance, was very successful, generating a 30% increase in passengers. Last year, extra flights were also added on Bangkok-Phuket (from 5 to 6 flights/day), Bangkok-Phnom Penh (from 3 to 4 flights/day), and Bangkok-Yangon (from 1 to 2 flights/day). Currently, we plan to add more flights for high-demand routes starting with Bangkok-Chiang Mai from 4 to 5 flights/day,” added Puttipong.
At present, Bangkok Airways has codeshare agreements with Thai Airways International, EVA Air, Etihad Airways, Air Berlin, Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The company is currently in talks with Finnair, Malaysian Airlines and King Fisher Airlines to cooperate with more codeshare partners to provide additional convenience for foreign travellers and to work with each partner in the promotion of Thailand tourism.
Ms. Ariya Prasarttong-Osoth, Vice President, Sales commented, “To celebrate the launch of the new routes we will offer a promotion for roundtrip airfare for Bangkok-Mumbai and Bangkok-Dhaka, both at a starting fare of 5,590 baht to travel within 31 March for Mumbai and 30 April for Dhaka. This year we will introduce more promotional fares and cooperate with new partners to launch promotional campaigns similar to those we launched with our partners last year like VISA card, KTC credit card and AIS which were very well-received. We have also redesigned our website www.bangkokair.com to provide a more user- friendly experience.
The site is currently visited by some 16,000 users per day – a number which is steadily growing and which reflects our goal of achieving an increase of 35% on Internet sales alone this year or around 2.8 billion baht of total revenue. Bangkok Airways’ Facebook and Twitter sites are very active with real-time news and promotions, supporting our confidence in the power of social media in allowing us to keep connected with our customers. At present our Facebook page has some 30,000 members.
M.L. Nandhika Varavarn Vice President, Corporate Communications said, “The launch of Bangkok-Mumbai on 02 March is truly a historic move for Bangkok Airways as it is our first step in the Indian market. India has a long history and fascinating culture, especially Mumbai. The city is the heart of the Indian financial and entertainment industries, home of the Stock Exchange of India and Bollywood. Mumbai is also known as the symbol of India with important landmarks such as the ‘Gateway of India’ built to commemorate India’s Independence Day.
“The airline’s service development for 2011 will be consistent and continuous from our re-branding campaign launched last year especially for the Thai market to create better awareness and perception. This year, we will change the uniform of all frontline staff including flight attendants, ground staff and reservation staff to something more modern and individual. The new uniform is being designed exclusively by Moo-Polpat Asavaprapha, the brand master of ‘Asava’ with a budget of 15 million baht. We are also working with a top fusion restaurant and a top chef to create exclusive dishes for in-flight menus which will be launched around mid year. Plus, the second series of ‘Love at First Flight’ television commercial is in progress and will also be launched this year,” M.L. Nandhika added.
Bangkok Airways is also cooperating with government agencies such as the TAT, the Sport Authority of Thailand to launch a series of major annual sporting events including Queen’s Cup Samui Golf Tournament Asian Tour and Samui Island Marathon. Both events are held annually in Koh Samui Suratthani.