A new devastating competitor is finally breaking out Bangkok Airways’ comfortable monopoly on Bangkok-Siem Reap. Thai AirAsia announced yesterday to have gained the right to serve one of Mekong most lucrative line with a daily frequency from October 1st. A true revolution!
BANGKOK- It has been the complaint of everyone, travel industry or travellers. Fares on the route Bangkok-Siem Reap from “boutique” carrier Bangkok Airways – as it liked itself to be called- were judged far too high. On average, a return ticket on the regional carrier is priced at over THB 10,000 (US$ 325) for the 300 km long route. Just as an example.
Looking yesterday at promotional fares on Bangkok Airways website for a departure on August 16 and a return on August 18 out of Bangkok, the airline’s best available fare came at a shocking THB 12,970, the equivalent of US$ 417. Small and rather unknown national carrier Cambodia Angkor Air, offered on the same route a more reasonable fare of THB 6,745, or U$ 217.
Thai AirAsia is hitting strongly with a promotional fare starting as little as THB 999, or US$ US$ 32 one-way, including all taxes. A way also to celebrate eight years in waiting to get traffic rights approved for this route. Talking during a press conference, Thai AirAsia CEO Tassapon Bijleveld, declared: “this year, AirAsia is focusing on the Indochina market as it heads toward the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community, or AEC. We have been looking for new routes and identified for a long time Siem Reap as a destination that would enhance our network. The city will be our sixth stop in Indochina for us once it begins on 1 October, 2013, following after Yangon, Mandalay, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh and Phnom Penh”.
“Indochina is AirAsia’s second largest market after China. We operate 70 flights a week in the region among our 250 weekly flights. Passenger numbers for the area rose 35% during the first and second quarters of this year compared to the same period the year before, the highest rate of growth. We believe it will continue to expand and plan to add even more destinations in the Indochina region this year,” he added.
The promotional THB 999-fare is only available for booking on the airline’s website or via the AirAsia Mobile Application available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 10 devices. Booking must be completed by July 24, 2013 for travel between 1 October, 2013 and 5 August, 2014.
Travellers looking for package deals can take advantage of AirAsiaGo’s “Siem Reap Special! Daily Direct Flights on a New Route!” package, which includes a return Bangkok-Siem Reap ticket and 3 day 2 night accommodations.
Competition is certain to boost again the Siem Reap-Bangkok route which saw marginal growth of its passengers traffic over the last five years. Change is in the air…
The new Thai AirAsia Frequency
Bangkok (DMK) – Siem Reap (REP) from October 1st, 2013
|FD2850||DMK – REP||10.30 – 11.30||Daily|
|FD2851||REP – DMK||12.15 – 13.15||Daily|
Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.