Thai Lion Air will make Hat Yai its second hub with plans to launch four new routes from the southern Thai city from March.
The airline will base its newly acquired ATR 72-600 in Hat Yai, and from March 21 fly four times weekly to Subang (near Kuala Lumpur), three times weekly to Surat Thani and five times weekly to Hua Hin.
Thai Lion will also launch a twice weekly service from Hat Yai to Medan from 6 April.
Innovata schedules show that Thai Lion will compete indirectly with AirAsia on the Subang route, as the Malaysian carrier operates services from Kuala Lumpur International airport to Hat Yai. There are no other operators on the three other routes.
Executive managing director of Thai Lion Andi Burhan says Hat Yai was chosen as the carrier's second hub since it is a gateway to popular holiday destinations in southern Thailand.
He adds that adding the ATR 72 to its fleet will allow the carrier to further expand its domestic and regional network.
“Having the ATR allows us to operate to smaller cities and towns in Thailand and develop a more comprehensive domestic network. In some instances we will be pioneering new routes,” he says.
Flightglobal's Ascend Online Fleets database shows that aside from the turboprop, Thai Lion has two Boeing 737-900ERs in service and is expected to receive a third by the end of March.