Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Australians, generating over 800,000 visitors and 1.6 million passengers per year. However, capacity cuts by Thai Airways and the suspension of Sydney-Bangkok services by Emirates are driving a 30% drop in seat capacity in the Australia-Thailand market.
AirAsia has pounced on this opportunity and is launching its first ever nonstop service between Australia and Thailand. Thai AirAsia X will compete against Thai Airways on the Brisbane-Bangkok route from 25-Jun-2019, when it launches four weekly flights, and could add more Australia-Thailand routes by the end of 2019.
Long haul LCCs are well positioned, given that the Australia-Thailand market consists mainly of price sensitive leisure passengers. Jetstar already serves the market nonstop and both AirAsia and Scoot offer attractively priced one-stop options on multiple city pairs.
Asia’s other major LCC group, Lion, has looked closely at entering the Australia-Thailand market, using its affiliate Thai Lion. However, Thai Lion has decided against launching Australia services for now due to regulatory obstacles, which leaves an opening for AirAsia.