Four new airlines preparing for take-off in Thailand

Four new Thai airlines are preparing to take to the skies in coming months propelled by resurgent tourism in the post-pandemic era and spurring an increase in competition in local and regional markets.

The new carriers are relatively small and will serve niche traveler markets. But they add depth to the Thai aviation industry and are an indicator of the sector’s improving health as economies recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

“This year would be a golden period for the aviation business to rebound after being hit by the pandemic over the past two years,” said an analyst at Krungsri Research.

He added that around 93 percent of the demand for air transportation is being fueled by tourism. Thailand welcomed 11.4 million tourists from January through the first week of June, still below the rate that produced about 39 million tourists in 2019 before the pandemic struck, but a steadily improving performance over last year.

The four new carriers are Really Cool Airlines, Landarch Airlines, P80 Air and Siam Seaplanes. Really Cool Airlines is majority owned by the former chief executive officer of Nok Air, a Thai budget carrier. Landarch Airlines, which will launch next year, will connect travelers between Thailand’s various southern beach resorts, as will Siam Seaplane.

P80 Air is owned Thoresen Thai Agencies, a major shipping company and plans to launch with Boeing 737-800s, focusing on routes to several cities in China. Prior to the pandemic, tourists from China were the largest group by national origin for Thailand.

The International Air Transportation Association said that this year will be the turning point for the global airline business, with expectations it will generate up to $4.7 billion globally, with more than 4 billion people planning to travel.