Thai Airways president says BRIC neighbours to provide growth

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Thai Airways is looking principally to Asia for further expansion opportunities, according to its new president.

Speaking to Flightglobal at the World Travel Market 2012 in London, Sorajak Kasemsuvan said: "The natural place to grow is where growth is, and growth is definitely in Asia, that's indisputable. Our services and traffic in Asia will definitely keep growing."

Much of that growth will be fuelled by increasing numbers of tourists visiting Thailand from China, India and Russia, he says, adding: "BRICs are the main engines of growth in Asia and the world...The ties we have with China are very strong and I am sure that there are a lot more destinations that we can open in the next year or two."

He says that Thailand's geographical location in the middle of the ASEAN grouping of countries means that Bangkok is ideally placed to serve as a hub for regional traffic.

The Star Alliance carrier is also looking at opening a new route to Europe, Kasemsuvan says, with Vienna near the top of the list.

"Surprisingly, we have not see a decline in the number of passengers from Europe to Thailand, despite what's happening in Spain," he notes. "Our Madrid-Bangkok flights are still doing very well. That shows that whatever happens in Europe, Thailand remains an attractive destination to European travellers."

With European nations such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland "doing very well and getting more and more prosperous", he says there has been an increase in leisure traffic from these nations to Asia. As such "Vienna is very convenient for them", says Kasemsuvan.