The Thai government has approved the Air Operator’s Certificate for Thai AirAsia X.
The decision means the new Bangkok-based long-haul low-cost carrier is now expected to bring forward the launch date of its first flight into 2013, rather than early 2014 as expected.
The new Thai carrier was first announced this summer and will initially operate using a fleet of two Airbus A330-300 aircraft, featuring approximately 370 seats.
The new carrier will be based at Bangkok’s second airport, Don Mueang, and plans to operate medium- and long-haul flights to destinations including Japan, China, South Korea and Australia.
“With its 10-year track record, Thai AirAsia has built a strong domestic and international short-haul network that can provide feeder traffic to Thai AirAsia X, which plans to be based in the same Don Muang Airport,” said Azran Osman-Rani, chief executive, AirAsia X.
“Thai AirAsia X will also focus on flying to long-haul destinations in North Asia and Australia where AirAsia X has already built up brand awareness and operating bases, to speed up its market penetration. Passenger traffic from destinations in these markets to Bangkok is very high, largely leisure travellers, and primarily served by higher-cost full service airlines.
“Thai AirAsia X expects to significantly grow tourist arrivals to Thailand,” he added.