14th Jun 2017
Although originally set to launch late in 2016, the Bangkok Airways’ Samui-Chongqing flight has now been delayed for the third time and will not launch on 22nd July this year, as planned.
Bangkok Airways didn’t give an official reason for the delay.
Chongqing was supposed to be the carrier’s third route to China out of Koh Samui, following Chengdu and Guangzhou. Recently the airline reduced the frequency on Samui-Chengdu flights from daily to four per week. The carrier also flies to Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Singapore out of Samui.
In any case, it appears that the Asia’s Boutique Airline has stepped back from trying to move into the Chinese market, at least for the time being. This was confirmed by the airline’s President Puttipong Prasattong-Osoth, who explained that the carrier needs to be careful about launching new routes, as its “bottom line” costs suffer from the increase in jet fuel prices and the excise tax on fuel used for domestic flights.
Mr. Puttipong said:
You don't get 80% load factor right away from a new route, so you have to be extremely cautious and make sure any new routes are truly viable.
He also said that Bangkok Airways is expecting delivery of three more single-aisle Airbus A319s later in 2017. With the two the airline received earlier this year, that makes a total of 36 aircraft in BA’s fleet, including 12 Airbus A319s, 9 Airbus A320s, 9 ATR 72-600s and 6 ATR 72-500s. However, the airline could convert some of its ATR 72-500 aircraft into freighters.
Bangkok Airways President added:
We are considering if there is enough cargo demand to justify the conversion.
In the meantime, Bangkok Airways is in talks with several airlines about a possible codeshare partnership. Recently, the airline added its 25th with Hong Kong Airlines and is also enjoying the fruits of its lucrative codeshare partnership with another Thailand-based airline – THAI. This partnership covers 14 routes operated by Bangkok Airways and only one by Thai Airways.
The code-share agreement with Thai Airways has indeed helped channel their passengers to our routes, thanks to their global network covering more than 60 destinations.