THAI AirAsia (TAA) is considering shifting its base of operations from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to Don Mueang Airport, a decision that is expected to shake up the domestic LCC sector.
Airports of Thailand (AOT), which operates both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang, is currently in advanced negotiations with TAA, according to Brian Sinclair Thompson, president, Board of Airline Representatives in Thailand.
AOT is focusing its pitch to the LCC on an incentive package which includes concessions and political backing for a long-term move.
Tassapon Bijleveld, TAA chief executive, said: “We are currently looking into the pros and cons of moving to Don Mueang Airport, including the conveniences and connectivity offered to passengers who will depart and arrive in Don Mueang.”
“There are still many details that need to be studied, including the incentive packages, the available facilities and the capacity of the place.”
If the move goes through, other budget carriers are likely to follow suit. Thai Airways International (THAI) has already stated it is considering moving its low-cost subsidiary, THAI Smile Air, to Don Mueang in the future. THAI Smile is scheduled to launch operations from Suvarnabhumi this July.
In February, the Thai government unveiled plans to redevelop Don Mueang into an LCC hub to ease congestion at Suvarnabhumi, which is expected to process 52 millon passengers this year – beyond its annual passenger capacity of 45 million.