Monday, February 16, 2015

Peach mulls Okinawa – Bangkok.

Peach Aviation [MM/APJ] is considering launching Okinawa/Naha [OKA/ROAH] – Bangkok/Don Mueang [DMK/VTBD] as early as third quarter 2015, when renovation of Terminal 2 at Asia's oldest airport is completed. Airports of Thailand (AoT), which operates the 101-year-old airport, revealed that discussions are currently taking place with the Osaka/Kansai [KIX/RJBB]-based LCC. The route would be operated by 180-seat Airbus A320s.

Airbus A320-214 JA801P Peach Dream taxies for departure. Peach flies a modest fleet of 14 A320s, with one each to arrive in March, July, and November, respectively, for a total of 17 by year-end 2015. Japan's so far most successful LCC expands cautiously yet boldly. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

Launched in July 2014, Naha was selected by Peach with ambitions to use it as a scissors hub (Peach launches Naha hub; but Naha – Ishigaki axed.) to funnel passengers between the main islands of Japan and Southeast Asia. "Our A320s cannot reach Southeast Asia from Kansai, but the Naha hub would enable us to meet the growing demand to and from that region," CEO Shinichi Inoue had said. Meanwhile, their third hub is being set up at Tokyo/Narita [NRT/RJAA] (Peach confirms Narita hub; adds Fukuoka and Sapporo.).

From their Okinawa hub, the growing LCC currently serves Fukuoka [FUK/RJFF], Kansai, and Taipei/Taoyuan [TPE/RCTP], and will launch Hong Kong [HKG/VHHH] (Peach announces Okinawa – Hong Kong.) on February 21st. Thailand and Vietnam have been at the top of the list of destinations Peach has said they would like to start flying to. They do not offer a 'fly-through' product and passengers have had to buy two segments separately if they wished to connect, but this may change.

While much newer Bangkok/Suvarnabhumi [BKK/VTBS] is the premier airport, Thailand's former international gateway to the world is now a fierce LCC battleground; Nok Airlines [DD/NOK] (d.b.a. Nok Air), Thai AirAsia [FD/AIQ], and Thai Lion Mentari [SL/TLM] (d.b.a. Thai Lion Air) are all based at Don Mueang and compete aggressively in the domestic market as well as on some regional Asian routes, while NokScoot Airlines [XW/NCT] and Thai AirAsia X [XJ/TAX] are posed to go head-to-head on long-haul international with Japan and South Korea being the most important markets.

It will be interesting to see how much success Peach will have with their one-stop product through Naha, against new long-haul LCCs in Southeast Asia that are offering non-stop services.

Source: The Nation, February 7th. (in English)
Source: Traicy, February 16th. (in Japanese)

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