In conversation with T3, Peter Weisner, Senior Vice President - Network Management, Bangkok Airways, explains why India is an important market
Bangkok Airways is looking at further expanding its operations in the Indian market. The airline recently launched daily Mumbai-Bangkok services, and added Bengaluru as its second destination in India, offering five direct weekly flights. “In 2011, Bangkok Airways sought the rights to operate flights from Bangkok to Bengaluru from Indian aviation authorities. We aim to cater to the high expectations of Indian travellers,” said Peter Weisner, Senior VP - Network Management, Bangkok Airways.
Commenting on increasing services and routes from India, Weisner stated, “After witnessing around 70 per cent passenger load factor per flight on the Mumbai-Bangkok route, the airline is expecting the same figures from the newly launched Bengaluru-Bangkok route.” As part of the airline’s future expansion plans, it will consider connecting more Indian destination such as Lucknow, New Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai by 2015-16, he revealed.
Weisner is quite optimistic about the growth of the Indian market. “Although India does not contribute to a large part of the numbers, we are very optimistic. With India specific offers such as competitive fare and premium services clubbed with a strong marketing and advertising, we aim to create awareness and increase passenger inflow from India. We will also participate in trade shows in the country and organise FAM trips for Indian travel agents to showcase our product. Furthermore, we are planning to join hands with Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to promote destinations such as Koh Samui, Phuket and Chiang Mai in India,” he added.
The airline also plans to take the social media route to market and promote the brand here. “We are very active on social media platforms such as facebook, twitter etc, and plan on using this to our advantage to increase visibility,” Weisner said. He further stated that Bangkok Airways offers specifically developed gourmet meals for Indian passengers as a marketing strategy to strengthen its image of being a high quality, full-service carrier, fit for business-class travellers. “We have tied up with five-star resorts to generate an in-flight menu which underlines our long-standing strategy of utilising meals in order to attract the interest of many travellers. This also helps us increase our share of repeat customers.”
He also divulged the carrier’s fleet acquisition aims, revealing that Bangkok Airways plans to expand its network and fleet from the current 19 to 30 aircrafts by 2015. The present fleet comprises eight ATR 72-500s, seven Airbus 319s, and three Airbus 320s; each aircraft decorated in different liveries of various exotic destinations. They plan to further increase these numbers after finalising their expansion plans. Meanwhile, the carrier will start flying to Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, from 1 December, 2012.