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Thai VietJet Air’s expansion to push through

Thai VietJet Air’s expansion plans are about to take off after the removal of the red flag on Thailand’s aviation safety.

A Thai offshoot of the Vietnamese low-cost carrier group, VietJet Air’s growth plan would soon start after the completion of its license re-certification by Thai authorities.

TVJA Chief Executive Nguyen Thi Thuy Binh revealed an aggressive campaign that includes expansion of international network, fleet expansion and increasing passenger volumes.

But the chief priority is introducing more links between Thailand and Vietnam is the, followed by the launching of new routes to Asean and then China, the TVJA boss related.

The airline will also start adding 8-10 Airbus A320 series jets to its fleet every year starting in 2018. The goal is to double the number of passengers transported to more than two million next year, from the one million targeted this year.

“Having our Air Operator Certificate [AOC] recertified by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand [CAAT] really allows us to activate our growth plan,” Binh said.

TJVA is the next carrier that would be accommodated among ten remaining Thai-registered airlines that have yet to see their AOCs reissued by CAAT, thus barring them from flying overseas.

Eleven Thai-registered airlines, mostly major passenger airlines with scheduled services including Thai Airways International and Thai AirAsia, were able to nab the re-certified AOCs by the August 31 deadline.

The CAAT prohibited Thai operators from servicing international flights to satisfy the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in their bid to remove the red flag placed on Thai civil aviation authority for “significant safety concerns” back in June 2015.

The UN aviation watchdog certified the red flag removal to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on October 9.

Binh said TVJA is aiming to introduce new routes from its Suvarnabhumi airport base to Da Nang, Dalat and Phu Quoc beginning next month, pending regulatory approval.

This would represent a relaunch of TVJA’s international service after it moved the right to operate the Bangkok-Hai Phong route to its parent airline for the past two months due to the limitations imposed by CAAT on AOC recertification.

TVJA is technically a Thai domestic flight operator with three domestic routes — Bangkok-Phuket, Bangkok-Chiang Mai and Phuket-Chiang Rai. Binh said TVJA’s second priority is to introduce flights from Thailand to the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar.

Southern China would come next as TVJA wants to take full advantage of the growing tourist traffic from the mainland to Thailand within a five-hour flight radius. She stressed that there is solid potential traffic demand between Thailand and Vietnam, “because we see that there are so many people waiting for us [to launch].”

TVJA’s fourth A320 single-aisle jet is set to join its fleet, comprising A320s alone, next month to start the fleet expansion plan. The 8-10 aircrafts that are expected to join the fleet next year may also include the A321, the stretched-fuselage variant of baseline A320, according to the Vietnamese executive.

Binh related that TVJA is hopeful that they would be able to start making profit sooner than the next three years of expected losses. The expansion would also mean that TVJA would increase its Thai workforce from the current 300 employees, she said.



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