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Thai AirAsia (TAA), Thailand’s leading low-cost carrier, lowered its passenger prediction for 2022 from 12.3 million passengers down to 10 million on Wednesday due to disappointing foreign tourist numbers in the first half of the year.
“The number of foreign tourists was not that good during the first 6 months of the year because of the Omicron outbreak but things have improved after the lifting of the Thailand Pass entry-registration system in July which led to the rapid recovery of the tourism sector,” said Santisuk Klongchaiya, chief executive of TAA.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said on Wednesday that more than 5 million foreign tourists visited the country between January and July.
The government is targeting to welcome at least 10 million visitors this year.
TAT said the government will be able to meet the target as they expected the number of foreign tourists in September to be around 1 million and another 4.5 million are expected to arrive during the high season or 1.5 million each month between October and December.
Santisuk said the airline had resumed normal operation for all of its domestic destinations but the number of flights was only 60-70% of the number of flights before the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the number of flights will resume to normal capacity by next year.
There are 53 aircraft in the airline’s fleet but it is only using 33 aircraft at the moment. The current load factor is around 80-90% and the plan is to increase the number of operational aircraft to 43 by the end of the year.
Revenue from the international market account for around 40% of the airline and they expect to regain at least 50% of that traffic by the end of this year, Santisuk said. The airline has 18 international routes to 7 countries.
The airline’s international routes to India including Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Kochi and Jaipur are currently carrying an average load factor of around 80%.
They are planning to open up new international destinations including Kathmandu, Nepal, and Bangladesh along with Chiang Mai-Hanoi, Bangkok-Gaya and Chiang Mai-Da Nang flights by the end of 2022.
TAA also launched a new promotion package dubbed “Amazing New Chapters” with up to 30% discount for all domestic flights during the booking period between September 13 and 18 and the travel period will be between October 12 and March 23, 2023.