AirAsia X’s Thai offshoot plan on course

The creation of a Thai subsidiary airline of the long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X (AAX) is on course for the planned take-off in the first quarter of next year.

The establishment of what is tentatively known as AirAsia X Thailand is going through the licensing process at Thailand’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and no objection is expected by Tassapon Bijleveld.

Mr Tassapon is the chief executive of Thai AirAsia (TAA), Thailand’s largest low-cost carrier, and a stakeholder of the first overseas offshoot of the Malaysia-based AirAsia X Bhd, the long-haul affiliate of Asia’s largest no-frills AirAsia group.

“The launch (of AirAsia X Thailand) is likely to take place in Q1 (first quarter of 2014) and we don’t foresee any obstacles,” he told the Bangkok Post, but cautioned that it was too early to discuss details involving the new airline.

He said details of its business plan, including where the airline would initially fly to, have yet to be finalised, though he confirmed the operation would start with two A330 wide-body aircraft, either brand-new or “fairly” new.

However, reports said AirAsia X Thailand’s application to the DCA submitted early this year initially calls for flights from Bangkok to South Korea and Japan, the highly competitive routes with strong demand among Thais.

Mr Tassapon also confirmed that AirAsia X Thailand will be operated out of Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport where it will work hand in hand with TAA to create a synergy.

Listed on Bursa Malaysia in July this year, AAX has been eager to set up its second overseas base in Bangkok to support its growth plan.

AAX’s entry to Thailand would consolidate AirAsia group’s position in Thailand, extending its network to cover cities up to 11 hours in flight time from Bangkok, compared with a maximum range of four hours from the capital offered by short-haul operators such as TAA, Malaysia AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia with their narrow-body A320s.