Thai Lion Air
- CAPA Analysis
- Schedule Analysis
- Route Maps
- Fast Fact Report
Thai Lion Air is a Lion Group subsidiary carrier which launched services from its Bangkok Don Mueang hub on 04-Dec-2013 with Boeing 737-900ER equipment. The carrier operates on several domestic routes and provides international services connecting to other Lion Group hubs in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta.
Location of Thai Lion Air main hub (Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport)
LCCs will continue to evolve into hybrids of the original core model. CAPA and OAG consider Thai Lion Air fits the LCC profile and it is included in our reporting on this basis. Please note: when reporting for an airline is changed from or to LCC the historical data is not affected and it can lead to a distortion in the current reported data. Contact us if you have any queries.
56 total articles
25 total articles
Bangkok Don Mueang saw passenger traffic surge by 50% in 1H2015, enabling it to become the world’s largest LCC airport. Don Mueang has overtaken Kuala Lumpur International (KLIA), which was until recently Asia’s largest LCC airport, as well European LCC airport leader Barcelona El Prat and North American LCC airport leader Las Vegas McCarran.
Don Mueang is unlikely to relinquish its new title as Thailand’s three main LCC groups continue to pursue rapid expansion. Thailand’s LCC fleet is expected to surpass 100 aircraft by the end of 2015.
Thailand’s LCC sector currently consists of 87 aircraft, up from 74 aircraft at the end of 2014. All but seven of these aircraft are based at Don Mueang.
Thai Lion Air is continuing to expand its domestic operation, driving rapid growth in Thailand’s domestic market. Thai Lion now serves nine of the top 10 domestic destinations in Thailand, having added two more in 2Q2015.
Thai Lion has already overtaken Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways to become Thailand’s third largest domestic carrier after Nok Air and Thai AirAsia. Nok and Thai AirAsia are still about double the size of Thai Lion and are continuing to pursue domestic expansion. But Thai Lion is expanding faster, narrowing the gap with its LCC rivals.
Thailand’s domestic market grew by about 20% in 2014 and is on pace to grow at an even faster rate in 2015. LCCs have generated almost all of the growth and now account for nearly 70% of domestic passenger traffic in Thailand.
Thai Lion resumes international expansion with Singapore, increasing Lion Group’s presence at Changi
Indonesia-based Lion Group affiliate Thai Lion is making another move into international operations by launching service to Singapore on 15-Aug-2015. Bangkok-Singapore becomes Thai Lion’s first international route since it dropped services to Indonesia in early 2015. Thai Lion also dropped services to Malaysia in 2014.
Bangkok-Singapore is an extremely competitive route that is already well served by four LCC groups – AirAsia, Jetstar, Scoot and Tigerair. Lion Group’s entrance could be seen as a strategic move as it will give Lion a presence on all three of the largest routes from Singapore.
Lion Group’s share of Singapore’s LCC market will reach 8% in Aug-2015. Lion is still much smaller in Singapore than its rival Southeast Asian LCC groups but it is closing the gap as it expands at a time others have been reducing capacity.
Thailand’s regional market is poised for rapid growth as Kan Air expands its newly acquired ATR 72 fleet. Kan Air is using the 66-seat turboprop to expand at its Chiang Mai base, launch several routes from U-Tapao airport near Pattaya and potentially serve a new airport it is constructing on the resort island of Koh Phagnan.
Thailand’s two largest LCCs, Nok Air and Thai AirAsia, are also expanding their regional operations. Nok is adding two turboprops to its fleet in 2015 while Thai AirAsia is using its expanding fleet of A320s to launch services to secondary destinations which traditionally have only been served with turboprops.
The regional expansion in Thailand is driven by potential opportunities in underserved markets as well as the overcapacity that is now plaguing domestic trunk routes. But there is a risk the regional market could also quickly become oversupplied, particularly if China’s Hainan Group follows through on plans to launch a new joint venture regional carrier in Thailand.
Competition in Thailand’s domestic LCC sector intensifies further as Thai Lion, Nok & AirAsia expand
Thailand’s domestic market has become a major battleground for three of Southeast Asia’s leading low-cost carriers. Thailand’s domestic LCC sector recorded passenger growth of over 30% in 2014 and could see similar growth in 2015.
But the growth has come at the expense of yields and profitability as all players have had to lower fares to compete. The outlook for 2015 remains relatively bleak as the price wars have continued.
Thai Lion has been the main provocateur, pursuing rapid expansion since launching services at the end of 2013. But Nok and Thai AirAsia have also been expanding rapidly, leading to overcapacity.
Competition in Thailand’s domestic market will intensify further in 2015 as Thai Lion Air pursues further expansion. Thai Lion has quickly established a significant presence on a handful of trunk routes and will likely be competing on all the main domestic routes of Nok Air and Thai AirAsia by the end of 2015.
The Lion Group affiliate launched services at the end of 2013 and already accounts for 17% of domestic LCC seat capacity in Thailand. Thai Lion could potentially capture a 25% share by the end of 2015 as it takes delivery of several additional 737s.
Seat capacity and passenger numbers in Thailand’s domestic LCC sector increased by over 30% in 2014. But the growth has come at the expense of yields and profitability. More rapid domestic growth is expected in 2015 and the intense competition could make it difficult for the market to return to profitability even with the reduction in oil prices.