Thai AirAsia X gears up for 17 June service launch

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Thai AirAsia X (TAAX) has announced that it will launch its first flight, from Bangkok Don Mueang to Seoul Incheon, on June 17, with plans to launch services to Tokyo Narita and Osaka Kansai to follow later this year.

The airline’s debut route will be operated daily by Airbus A330-300s configured with 377 seats.

Flightglobal’s FlightMaps Analytics shows that the airline will be the sole carrier flying between Don Mueang and Incheon. Nevertheless, it will compete with eight carriers that serve the route from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International airport, including Thai Airways International, Eastar Jet and Jin Air.

Chief executive Nadda Buranasiri says that the airline is “absolutely thrilled to be Thailand’s first low-cost, long-haul carrier”, and will concentrate on flights greater than four hours from Bangkok-Don Mueang airport.

It will launch with a fleet of two A330s. One aircraft, leased from ILFC, has already been delivered to the carrier, while the second will arrive in early June, Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets database shows. A third A330 is expected to be delivered by the end of the year.

TAAX is 49% owned by Malaysia’s AirAsia X, while the Thai AirAsia chief executive holds 41%, and local entrprenuer Julpas Kruesopon the remaining 10%. The airline had planned to launch earlier in the year, however recent political unrest forced it to delay those plans.

AirAsia X is also working with the main investors behind Indonesia AirAsia to launch an affiliate that would be based in Denpasar, as part of its multi-hub expansion strategy. No target launch date for the Indonesian affiliate has been given.