- Passenger numbers: 1.8 million, +9.8% year-on-year;
- Load factor: 78.7%, +3.9 ppts;
- Cargo volume: 53,117 tons, -3.2%;
- Cargo load factor: 50.4%, -3.8 ppts.
Thai Airways International pax up 10%, cargo down 3% in Aug-2012
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Turbulence will hurt Southeast Asia’s airlines in 2017 as overcapacity bites
Southeast Asia is a region with enormous growth potential but a relatively cloudy outlook for airlines given the intense competition and overcapacity concerns.
Demand is on the rise, boosted by a growing middle class, rising discretionary incomes and relatively strong economies. Nearly every country in Southeast Asia continues to post GDP growth above the global average. The Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia have been particularly strong with GDP growth in the high single digits.
However, GDP growth slowed to less than 5% in the rest of Southeast Asia in 2016 and is expected to only pick up slightly in 2017. In several Southeast Asian markets, capacity has been growing faster than demand, impacting yields as competition has intensified. With an order book that equals the size of the current active fleet and several airlines pursuing strategic expansion, capacity may again be added at a rate exceeding demand in 2017.
Thai Airways Outlook Part 1: capacity, widebody fleet expansion resumes in 2017 with focus on Europe
Thai Airways is planning to resume capacity expansion in 2017 with additional flights to Europe driving most of the ASK growth. The group projects a nearly 6% increase in ASKs in 2017, restoring capacity to 2013 levels after three years of declines.
Thai Airways plans to take delivery of seven aircraft in 2017 – five A350-900s and two 787-9s – while phasing out just two aircraft (two A330s). As a result, the group’s widebody passenger fleet will increase by five aircraft, enabling a resumption of long haul capacity growth. Thai is able to expand in Europe as the A350-900s and 787-9s are delivered, and is also intending to use either type to launch nonstop flights to the US in late 2017.
Thai Airways also plans to retrofit 15 of its existing widebody aircraft in 2017, including six 787-8s, six 777-200ERs and three A330-300s. The 787-8 retrofits include new crew bunks, enabling the type to be used on long haul routes to Europe and supporting further long haul capacity growth.