ROUTES ASIA: Jet Asia Airways to Evolve into Scheduled Operator

Jet Asia Airways plans to take advantage of the growing mobility of Chinese passengers to create a network that can feed traffic from the country across South East Asia via a new hub it plans to develop with partner carriers at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Independent Thai carrier Jet Asia Airways has proved its value in the charter and ACMI markets since it launched in September 2011 but is now preparing for a growth into scheduled markets as it embarks on a major fleet expansion doubling its size from six to 12 aircraft.  In a market that sees a large number of airline start-ups and failures each year, Jet Asia has been able to develop a pedigree by offering charter services from both Bangkok and Phuket over the past two-and-a-half years, supporting both inbound and outbound demand.

However, the airline now plans to take advantage of the growing mobility of Chinese passengers to create a network that can feed the traffic across South East Asia.  “We have reached the point that we have to transition and evolve into more of a network carrier,” said Pablo Saba, development planner, Jet Asia Airways on the sidelines of this year’s Routes Asia forum in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.  “We are in the process of developing scheduled flights in and out of China, into Japan to Indonesia and to Saudi Arabia.”

The airline plans to develop a scheduled hub at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport and is currently looking to develop partnerships with other operators to distribute these passengers across the region from the facility.  Saba confirmed that talks have already taken place with some operators and the new hub operation could be established as early as August 2014. 

“For us the ideal markets are the medium- to long-haul with flight times of between four and eight hours.  When it comes to the short-haul markets we are not the most competitive, so we are looking to these partners to help us feed that traffic,” he added.  “At around August we really hope to implement this network and create a hub based out of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.”

Jet Asia currently operates a fleet of six Boeing 767s and introduced its first -300ER variant in January this year to boost seat capacity on its Bangkok – Tokyo Narita route.  This scheduled charter was launched just two months earlier on November 3, 2013 with the support of Thailand's major outbound tour operators to meet growing demand after a visawaiver for Thais traveling to Japan sparked a rise in demand.

Its fleet currently consists of four 767-200s, one 767-200ER and the single 767-300ER, but Saba revealed ambitious plans to expand over the remeinder of this year to support its new business direction.  ”By the end of 2014 our plan is to double our fleet to around 12 aircraft to support our goals of developing this scheduled network,” he explained.

The Jet Asia network currently encompasses eight destinations across the continent, including seven in China.  It offers connections from Bangkok to Nanjing, Tianjin and Tokyo and from Phuket to Beijing, Changsha, Chongqing, Harbin, Nanjing, Shenyang and Tianjin, all of which are operated on scheduled charter basis.

One key market for the future is Indonesia and Saba confirmed that Jet Asia plans to launch flights to Jakarta in the coming months and will supplement that with scheduled flights to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to take advantage of the huge Ummrah market.   ”What we hope to do in addition to that is use our traffic coming from north east Asia to feed into that Jakarta route,” Saba added.

The Thai aviation landscape is constantly changing (in the past month we have become aware of at least four new entrants planning medium- and long-haul flights from the country) and Jet Asia is preparing for the more intense competition, especially once Thai AirAsia X takes to the air.  ”There are all sorts of new entrants coming in,” explained Saba.  ”There are reasons to be concerned but we feel that we are going to have the capacity to serve both the Thai and North East Asian markets.”

Jet Asia Airways plans to take advantage of the growing mobility of Chinese passengers to create a network that can feed traffic from the country across South East Asia via a new hub it plans to develop with partner carrier's in Bangkok.


Routes Asia 2018

Routes Asia 2020

The route development forum for Asia
Chiang Mai, Thailand  8 - 10 March 2020

Attracting senior decision makers from the region's air service development community, Routes Asia provides the perfect platform to expand your connections and discuss route development opportunities. Register your place today and join the region's leading airlines, airports, tourism authorities and industry influencers in Chiang Mai. 

Register my place

Share this article

Download Can tourism ever be sustainable?

Exploring how airlines and destinations are working together to help balance social and environmental concerns with the economic benefits of tourism.

Download White Paper

Comments