BANKOK: Thai VietJet Air (TVJA), 51% owned by Thailand’s Kannithi Aviation and 49% by VietJet Air, is gearing up towards the actual launch in the first quarter of this year, joining the country’s highly competitive low-cost carrier market.
TVJA officially obtained from the Thai Civil Aviation Department the Air Operator’s Certificate, which allows the new airline to use aircraft for commercial purposes within the Thai domestic skies and for flights out of the country.
It has also been waiting for green right from the Thai authorities to operate scheduled services from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport to Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai and Udon Thani.
Approval for the local destinations will set into motion the launch of TVJA scheduled flights on Thai domestic routes, although the airline has commenced a number of international charter flights out of Bangkok as a preparatory step towards regular services.
TVJA chairman Nguyen Thanh Hung talked about what seems to be an ambitious plan to spread the airline’s wings in Thailand.
TVJA has one Airbus 320-200 single-aisle jetliner in service and plans to expand the fleet of the same aircraft to three next year.
It will then add another three to five aircraft annually in the following years.
The new budget airline also aims to carry 1 million passengers in its first year of operation and increasing those numbers in subsequent years as its network and operation expand.
Plans are also afoot for TVJA to expand internationally to cover China, India, South Korea, Myanmar, Singapore and Malaysia, from its Suvarnabhumi hub, after the initial domestic flights.
Over the next five years, TVJA will establish a status as a regional airline, said the Vietnamese executive. He did not say when the international services will commence.
TVJA will provide a synergy with its parent carrier which operates 19 A320-200s with 130 flights per day covering 30 domestic Vietnamese and international routes including flights Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, and Cambodia.
VietJet Air serves Bangkok with two daily services from Ho Chi Minh City and once a week from Hanoi.
The airline said it had carried nearly 10 million passengers in Vietnam and across the region over the last three years.
The purchase agreement covers firm orders from Airbus for 42 A320neo, 14 A320ceo and 7 A321ceo, plus 30 purchase rights.