Bangkok Airways suffered more losses in 2021, as the coronavirus impact continued to depress Thailand’s tourism market.

Operating losses for the full year ended 31 December 2021 were Bt2.5 billion ($77.9 million), narrowing from an operating loss of Bt3.3 billion a year earlier, says the carrier.

ATR 600 Bangkok Airways

Source: Bangkok Airways

An ATR 72-600 of Bangkok Airways

Overall revenues dived 44.5% to Bt5.7 billion. Passenger revenue at the airline business fell 78.7%, while revenues at the company’s airport business declined 75.7% - Bangkok Airways owns and operates airports at Samui, Trat, and Sukhothai.

Net losses ballooned to Bt8.5 billion from Bt5.3 billion a year earlier.

The sharp revenue drop reflects that Covid-19 impacted all 12 months of 2021, but only the last nine months of 2020. Moreover, Thailand suffered a third wave of the pandemic in April 2021, causing Bangkok Airways to suspend flights from July to September.

The airline adds that the Thailand ‘Sand Box’ scheme for vaccinated travellers did little for its results in the fourth quarter.

In 2021, Bangkok Airways carried just 536,000 passengers, down 71.5% from 2020. The year saw flights flown fall by two thirds to 8,694, ASKs fall 73.4%, and RPKS fall 75.2%.

Passenger load factors in 2021 fell 4.3 percentage points to 58.6%. Daily aircraft utilization for the year averaged out at just 3.8h, down from 4.6h in 2020. At the end of 2021, Bangkok Airways had 37 down aircraft, compared with 39 a year earlier.

As of 31 December 2021, the carrier held Bt2.1 billion in cash and cash equivalents, down Bt55.2 million from a year earlier.

“For Thailand’s tourism, foreign tourist figures increased after the opening of tourism sand box scheme in July 2021 and re-opening of the country on 1 November 2021, but overall tourism growth remained low as the outbreak situation both in Thailand and aboard remained uncertain,” says the carrier.

“Also, international travel restrictions in many countries remained in place. In addition, tourists are concerned about the spread of the Omicron variant.”