IndiGo adds Singapore and Bangkok links from Mumbai

IndiGo will start new services from Mumbai to Singapore and Bangkok from 22 August as part of its ongoing international expansion strategy.

Both routes will operate daily with Airbus A320 family aircraft.

“Connections between Mumbai and Singapore and Bangkok are highly significant from a trade perspective as it connects key commercial hubs in the region. These flights will further enhance our point-to-point connectivity in Southeast Asia thereby promoting trade, tourism and mobility,” says chief commercial officer William Boulter.

Cirium schedules data shows that Singapore Airlines and Air India are the only other carriers operating flights between Mumbai and Singapore, although Vistara will start a daily service from 7 August.

IndiGo already operates flights from Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Tiruchchirappalli to Singapore.

Similarly, Mumbai will be its fifth destination from Bangkok, joining Kolkata, Bengaluru, Varanasi and Chennai. However, the new route will be strongly contested, with five other carriers already flying between Bangkok and Mumbai.

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Bangkok Airways first quarter profit down 22%

Bangkok Airways posted a 22% decline in its first quarter operating profit to Bt870 million ($27.6 million) as expenses rose faster than revenue.

Total revenue for the quarter ended 31 March was static at Bt7.79 billion. Revenue from the airline and airport segments all saw declines, while revenue from the airport-related services and other businesses posted double digit growth.

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Bangkok Airways’ operating profit fell 22% during the three months to 31 March

Bangkok Airways

RPKs fell 3.2% despite a 0.8% decline in ASKs. Overall load factor fell 1.8 percentage points to 74.6%, as loads on domestic flights fell while international load factor remained steady.

While passenger yield per kilometre was down 1.5% to Bt4.72, RASK was up 1.8%, and CASK rose 1.1%.

Total expenses were up 3.6% to Bt6.92 billion, as higher fuel, maintenance and personnel expenditure took a hit on the carrier.

Attributable net profit fell 29% to Bt504 million.

Cash and cash equivalents at 31 March amounted to Bt4.79 billion, a slight increase from the Bt4.7 billion it had on the same date in 2018.

Bangkok Airways launched Bangkok-Cam Ranh and Chiang Mai-Krabi services, added flights on the Krabi-Bangkok, Bangkok-Da Nang and Bangkok-Mandalay routes, while slightly reducing the Chiang Mai-Bangkok frequency over the three months.

The airline also saw its net fleet size grow from 38 to 41, with the delivery of two Airbus A319s and three ATR 72-600s, while it phased out two ATR 72-500s.

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​Bangkok Airways enters U-Tapao development fray

Bangkok Airways and two other firms have submitted a joint proposal for the development of an aviation hub at Thailand’s U-Tapao airport.

The company is teaming up with BTS Group and Sino-Thai Engineering for the bid, says the airline in a Stock Exchange of Thailand statement.

The name of the entity is BBS Joint Venture, which is bidding for the U-Tapao International Airport and Eastern Aviation City Development Project.

According to the Bangkok Post, other companies that have placed bids with the Thai Navy, which runs the airport, are local conglomerate Charoen Pokphand as well as Asia Aviation, which owns Thai AirAsia.

The report adds that 24 local companies and 18 foreign firms have expressed interest in the project.

Thailand is in the process of developing U-Tapao both as an airport and an MRO centre.

In 2018, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand said that the airport’s handling capacity will grow from 3.7 million passengers annually to 15 million within five years, to 30 million within 10 years, and 60 million within 15 years.

Plans call for the airport, a two-hour drive from Bangkok, to be linked with the city via high speed rail links. There will also be rail links to the capital’s other two airports, Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang.

As for MRO, Airbus and Thai Airways International are setting up a new MRO facility at the airport.

The facility will offer heavy maintenance and line services for all widebody aircraft types, including Boeing aircraft. The complex will also have repair shops for composite structures, as well as a training centre.

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Bangkok Airways outlines 2019 growth plans

Bangkok Airways is looking to further entrench its Indochina market position through new regional services, expand the number of codeshare partners, and enhance its non-airline businesses, as part of its business plan for 2019.

In terms of network, the carrier began Bangkok-Nha Trang service in January. This will be followed by Chiang Mai-Krabi and Chiang Mai-Luang Prabang services in March and April.

The Bangkok-Da Nang frequency will be doubled to twice-daily, and the Bangkok-Krabi route will see a fourth daily flight, all set to take place this month.

Having secured four new codeshare partners in 2018, the airline is expecting to sign two to three more codesharing agreements later this year.

For 2019, Bangkok Airways will add one A319 and two ATR 72-600s. Five ATR 72-500s will be phased out, leaving the carrier to operate 38 aircraft this year, a slight decline from the 40 aircraft it operated in 2018.

It is setting aside Bt1.82 billion ($57.1 million) to buy the two ATRs, acquire new spare parts, and embark on a two-year cabin refurbishment project on its Airbus A319s.

Aircraft proposals from Airbus and Boeing are now being reviewed, as it gears towards fleet commonality.

On the airport and MRO businesses, Bangkok Airways is investing Bt958 million to construct an MRO facility at Sukhothai airport, which it manages alongside Trat and Koh Samui. Another Bt334 million will be invested to further develop Trat airport and extend its runway.

Both Trat and Koh Samui saw increases in passenger numbers in 2018, while Sukhothai had a 1% decline.

Having previously sought to develop new airports in Thailand and unspecified neighbouring countries, the company is now waiting for regulatory approvals.

To stem fuel-related expenses, the airline has hedged around 53-74% of its fuel requirement this year, with an average hedging cost of $82-84.

Having flown nearly six million passengers in 2018, Bangkok Airways expects a 3% growth in passenger numbers in 2019. It also predicts passenger load factor to increase by 1.4 percentage points to 70% this year, and that passenger revenue is set to grow 3.5%, says its president and chief executive Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth.

In 2018, Bangkok Airways posted a 40% fall in its operating profit to Bt1.43 billion. Revenue declined 1.9% to Bt27.9 billion, while expenses rose 1.4% to Bt26.5 billion. Net profit plunged 68.4% to Bt249 million.

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Bangkok Airways president elevated to chief executive role

Bangkok Airways president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth was elevated to the role of the carrier’s chief executive and vice-chairman on 24 January.

He takes on the two roles vacated by his father Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, who resigned earlier this week following official sanctions that he was involved in a conspiracy to manipulate company stock.

Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth will also retain his role as the airline’s president.

Bangkok Airways adds that both Puttipong and his sister Ariya Prasarttong-Osoth, who is also a member of its board, will not jointly sign any documents on its behalf, “in order to comply with the good corporate governance principles of the company”.

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​Bangkok Airways CEO resigns amid stock manipulation sanctions

The chief executive of Bangkok Airways has resigned his positions in the company following official sanctions that he was involved in a conspiracy to manipulate company stock.

In a statement, the airline says that Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth has relinquished his posts as director, vice chairman, chairman of the executive management committee and chief executive officer. Narumon Chainaknan, executive secretary to the chief executive’s office, has also stepped down.

A statement from the Securities Exchange Commission claims that Prasarttong-Osoth, his daughter Poramaporn Prasarttong-Osoth, and Chainaknan conspired to manipulate the company’s shares through order matching from 13 November 2015 to 12 January 2016.

The SEC has imposed a fine of Bt499 million ($15.7 million). In addition, Thai security laws requires that they vacate their positions.

The SEC claims that they concealed their activities “to mislead the public regarding the share price and trading volume of BA. Consequently, the Bangkok Airways price and trading volume became inconsistent with normal market conditions.”

Share price data indicates that the Bangkok Airways stock rose from Bt20.50 in mid-November 2015 to Bt25 in mid-January 2016. The company was listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in November 2014.

The Bangkok Airways statement adds that the three individuals protest the allegations, and will “prove their innocence in this matter through the justice system.”

Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, aged 85, also owns Thailand’s largest private healthcare group, Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, from which he has also resigned following the Bangkok Airways stock allegations. Forbes estimates his net worth at $3.1 billion, making him the eighth richest man in Thailand.

Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth is the father of Bangkok Airways president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, who runs the carrier on a day-to-day basis.

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Thai Airways 747 in Bangkok runway excursion

A Thai Airways International Boeing 747-400 was involved in a “partial” runway excursion at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International airport on the evening of 8 October.

In a statement, the carrier says the 747-400, registered HS-TGF, was landing at the airport under inclement weather conditions at 22.48 local time.

“There was heavy rain upon landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport, and the aircraft experienced a partial excursion from the runway, whereby the aircraft came to a complete stop,” explains Thai.

Images seen on social media indicate that the aircraft stopped at a grassy patch, next to what appears to be a taxiway. The left wing may have suffered some damage, and a white object, apparently from the jet, was visible on the grass near the aircraft.

Flight tracking sites suggest that the 747 landed at runway 19R. The aircraft was operating TG679 from Guangzhou.

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Image via Twitter user @khongsak

There were no injuries to the 97 passengers and 18 crew on board.

“Thai is coordinating with functions concerned to investigate the cause of this incident,” adds the airline.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the 747-400 (MSN 33770), powered by General Electric CF6-80C2B1F engines, has been in service with Thai Airways since its delivery in October 2003.

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CSeries in contest for Bangkok Airways’ narrowbody needs

Bangkok Airways is evaluating the Airbus A319neo, Boeing 737 Max 7 and the Bombardier CS300 for its fleet renewal and expansion needs.

In an interview with FlightGlobal, network and fleet management advisor Peter Wiesner says the airline is looking at about 20 aircraft, to be available for delivery from the second half of 2019.

These aircraft, which will be taken in a mix of acquisitions and leases, will replace its fleet of 15 A319s.

Wiesner says that while the CSeries is lighter than the A319neo and the 737 Max 7, bringing about fuel savings, it will bring with it the complexity of adding a new aircraft type to the boutique carrier’s fleet.

“Ideally we should make a decision between six and nine months,” says Wiesner. “But the leases of our existing aircraft are also ongoing so there’s no real rush.”

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that Bangkok Airways has 39 aircraft in service, comprising 15 A319s, nine A320s and six ATR 72-500s.

All of its Airbus fleet is taken on leases, but the airline has said previously that it intends to start acquiring some aircraft.

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