Thai AirAsia CEO outlines expansion plan

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Thai AirAsia will be receiving three more Airbus A320s this year and launching services to Taiwan and India.

"The September one is confirmed and the other two are in the fourth quarter, sometime in November and December," the airline's CEO, Tassapon Bijleveld, says from Bangkok.

Thai AirAsia has 17 aircraft and at year-end it will have 20 although two are parked Boeing 737-300s that it has as spare aircraft, he says.

Most of its fleet are A320s but it still has six 737-300s and these will be phased out next year and in 2010 it will get eight more A320s, he adds.

The aircraft coming in September of this year will be used to launch a daily non-stop service from Bangkok to Taipei and to start a second daily service to Hong Kong, says Tassapon.

He adds, the aircraft coming in December will be used to launch a daily non-stop service from Bangkok to India and the likely destination is Mumbai.

It is also looking at launching more services to China and is considering Chengdu and Hangzhou but Kunming is off-limits from Bangkok, he says.

The high terrain around Kunming means the aircraft has to carry more fuel so Chiang Mai-Kunming is more feasible, he adds.

All of Thai AirAsia's flights are in and out of Bangkok but it plans to establish a second hub in Phuket and then one in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, he says, adding that in September it will station an A320 in Phuket.