THAILAND'S CIVIL Aviation Committee has approved the setting up of a second national carrier, as part of a plan to liberalise the country's air-transport industry.

The proposal, which still needs to be endorsed by the cabinet, requires the new airline to have a registered capital of 2.5 billion baht ($102 million), to operate domestic and regional routes. It would also have to be listed on the country's stock exchange after its first two years of operations.

Analysts suggest that state-owned flag carrier Thai International Airways will hive off its unprofitable domestic services to the new carrier and previously regulated airfares could then be raised.

Third-level operator Bangkok Airways, along with the now-defunct Thai-owned Cambodian International Airlines, are expected to be among the companies bidding for the new licence.

Source: Flight International