AirAsia to fly to Khon Kaen

Thai AirAsia (TAA) is returning to Khon Kaen with a renewed vigour to try and break the monopoly of Thai Airways International in that market.

The low-cost carrier (LCC)’s comeback to the second-largest province in the Northeast will be aided by heartthrob Nadech Kugimiya, who has just signed a multi-million-baht deal to become a brand presenter.

Promoting TAA’s revived Bangkok-Khon Kaen service is the first task for the 22-year-old Austrian-Thai star, who is originally from the province.

TAA is optimistic enough about its Khon Kaen service it will kick off with two daily flights on Oct 28, instead of its traditional practice of offering a daily frequency for a new route.

TAA chief executive Tassapon Bijleveld is upbeat about Khon Kaen’s potential, as the market environment has now embraced low-cost carriers, unlike TAA’s previous two attempts at the market.

“In the past, we entered Khon Kaen too quickly, as soon as internet booking started, and people there were unfamiliar with our promotional fare offerings,” he told the Bangkok Post yesterday. “But times have changed.”

TAA is offering an introductory all-inclusive fare of 490 baht between now and Sept 15 for travel between Oct 28 and Aug 5 next year.

TAA already serves three major northeastern provinces from its Bangkok hub at Don Mueang airport, comprising Nakhon Phanom (two flights per day), Udon Thani (three per day) and Ubon Ratchathani (twice daily).

TAA wants to consolidate its position in the region as Mr Tassapon said he expects the airline will expand to other provinces in the future, linking to cities other than Bangkok.

The carrier operates double daily services between Udon Thani and Phuket.

Mr Tassapon said there is broad demand for the Khon Kaen service as more travellers need to attend training sessions in the province.

Mr Nadech was featured in the “Flying ’til Familiar” 30-second TV commercial for TAA that started airing last Friday as well as a 15-second “Isan” spot made to promote TAA’s Khon Kaen services.