In a bid to capitalize on the expected rebound in tourism, eight airlines are gearing up to launch in Thailand this year. This move comes as the nation anticipates welcoming approximately 35 million foreign visitors this year.
Among the new carriers is Really Cool Airlines. According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, they received the green light from Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit for operator licenses. Additionally, all approved airlines have been granted permission to import 60 aircraft, signaling a significant expansion in the country’s aviation landscape.
Really Cool Airlines, led by Patee Sarasin, the former chief executive of budget carrier Nok Airline Pcl, is set to kick off chartered flight services in March, with plans to operate medium-to-long international flight paths, initially targeting Japan. Over the first two years, the airline aims to extend its services to other Asian destinations, including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Shanghai.
The new players in the aviation sector are poised to compete with established carriers such as Thai Airways International Pcl and Asia Aviation Pcl. These airlines are vying for a share of the projected 130 million passengers expected to traverse the nation’s main six airports in the coming year.
Last year, Thailand witnessed a surge in foreign tourist arrivals, surpassing 28 million following the government’s strategic move to waive visa requirements for travelers from critical markets like China and India. The tourism-dependent nation is optimistic about maintaining this momentum throughout the year as it seeks to make the visa waiver agreement with China permanent starting in March.
Apart from Really Cool Airlines, other newcomers to the Thai aviation scene include Pattaya Airways, Asian Aerospace Service, Avanti Air Charter, Siam Seaplane, and Asia Atlantic Airlines, as reported by The Nation newspaper. With diverse offerings and destinations, these new entrants are set to contribute to the recovery and growth of Thailand’s tourism industry in 2024.
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