Thai Lion Air, the newest Thailand-registered, low-cost airline, intends to start flights this December.
Details of the joint venture are sketchy, but it is understood there are two Thai partners who will hold 51% of the equity of around Bt200 million, the start-up capital required by Thailand’s civil aviation authorities.
Local media conjectured that the Thai partners are two travel-related companies that could help to support sales from the leisure group segment.
According to the airline’s Chief Executive Captain, Darsito Hendro Seputro, the airline will inaugurate its first Bangkok-Jakarta flight in early December followed by Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok-Chiang Mai.
All flights will be based at Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport.
Using Boeing 737-900ER, the upcoming Bangkok-Jakarta flight will operate twice daily, followed by a daily service, Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur and three daily flights on the Bangkok-Chiang Mai route.
“Thai Lion Air will follow the low-cost model offering the lowest fare year-round,” the CEO said. “The airline will be able to compete with other budget airlines to win market share in Thailand.”
The airline will take advantage of aviation liberalisation under the ASEAN Economic Community 2015 initiative. It frees up traffic rights between gateway cities for any airline registered in the 10 member-countries. However, Lion Air will also be able to link all of Thailand’s tourist destinations through its joint venture Thai Lion Air channelling tourists from Indonesia’s main cities.
On 1 November, the airline unveiled one of its newly acquired Boeing 737-900ERs, a 215-seat all-economy class configured aircraft, making it the first airline to operate the aircraft in Thailand.
The company plans to boost its fleet from two to 50 by 2018 and will to expand services to China (Guangzhou and Shenzhen) and India (New Delhi and Mumbai) linking them to Thailand’s popular tourist destinations no later than 2015.
“The airline has two aircraft now, but will add eight more aircraft in 2014, the first of which will arrive in January next year to serve Singapore and destinations in southern China.”
He also says Thai Lion Air will discuss expansion with its partner Lion Group (49% shareholder) about adding two Boeing 787-8s to launch services to Japan and South Korea by 2016.
Lion Group has five 787-8s on order with options for five more.
The airline is a joint venture between Indonesian based Lion Air and two Thai partner. It will serve regularly scheduled domestic and international flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport, competing head-on with Thai AirAsia.