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Thai AirAsia Chief steps up as airline posts B1.83bn profit for Q1 2018

BANGKOK: Thai AirAsia has announced that CEO Tassapon Bijleveld will take on the role as Executive Chairman and supervise the company’s executive board, while long-time executive and founding member Santisuk Klongchaiya, current Director of Commercial, takes over as Chief Executive Officer of Thai AirAsia effective today (May 14)

By The Phuket News

Monday 14 May 2018, 01:54PM

Left: Thai AirAsia CEO Santisuk Klongchaiya. Right: Thai AirAsia Executive Chairman Tassapon Bijleveld.

Left: Thai AirAsia CEO Santisuk Klongchaiya. Right: Thai AirAsia Executive Chairman Tassapon Bijleveld.

Mr Tassapon, Executive Chairman of Asia Aviation PLC (AAV) and Thai AirAsia Co Ltd (TAA), said the changes to the leadership positions will improve business flexibility within the carrier.

In his new role, Mr Tassapon will be in charge of executive policy in the interest of sustainable growth.

The company’s executive board and management directors have given their full support to the development, voicing confidence in promoting Santisuk Klongchaiya, who has been instrumental in the airline’s growth from its inception, to the role of CEO.

“I assure that I am still a part of AirAsia. My focus will now be on the overall executive picture and the company’s direction in seeking out new opportunities for sustainable growth,” Tassapon said.

“I will also focus on enacting government policies and collaborating with private sectors to ensure Thailand establishes a leading position in the aviation industry. I rejoice to have Mr Santisuk as the new CEO because he has been the key executive at TAA from the start. His visionary leadership, coupled with his marketing acumen, have been behind the success of TAA for the past 10 years. I am certain that TAA will continue to move forward stronger than ever.”

Mr Santisuk, who is promoted to Chief Executive Officer of both AAV and TAA, said that the past 11 years have been a time of pride and joy for him as he was able to watch the TAA family grow to its full potential, continually learning from mistakes and never ceasing to develop.

The new challenge as CEO will bring about stable and sustainable progress for the company as he affirms his commitment to working closely with “Allstars” in steering TAA and AAV forward.

“TAA’s strong foundation is built on the capability of its staff and its robust internal culture, which will continue to power its growth. We will never stop developing and we have a clear plan for progress. We are ready to adopt innovations and to bring new opportunities and experiences to our guests,” Mr Santisuk added.

Mr Santisuk was appointed as Director of Commercial of TAA back in 2007 when low-cost carrier was still a novelty. The posting was a considerable challenge with the initial task being to establish AirAsia as an eminent and trusted brand.

Mr Santisuk became Mr Tassapon’s “right-hand” in developing business strategy as well as marketing, sales and public relations policies. With his creativity and eye for opportunity, Mr Santisuk was able to set Thai AirAsia apart and help it rise above its peers in the aviation industry.

In terms of operations and management, Mr Santisuk has worked closely with Mr Tassapon at TAA for over 10 years and has been with the airline through all of its trials and tribulations.

He conceptualized the “Truly Low Fares, Trusted Quality” campaign to establish Thai AirAsia as more than a low fares carrier and as one offering quality services such as punctuality, attention to safety and an extensive network of destinations. The campaign strengthened Thai AirAsia’s position as an airline of value, growing its loyalty, market share and maintaining it as a leader.

In major news also today, AAV, a major shareholder of Thai AirAsia Co Ltd, today reported total revenues of B11.64 billion and a net profit of B1.004bn for the first quarter of 2018 (Q1/2018).

TAA, over the same period posted total revenue of B11.642bn and a record net profit of B1.834bn, with a load factor of 91% (up 2 percentage points).

The number of passengers carried during the quarter was recorded at 5.64 million, up by 16%.

Of note, in Q1/2018 TAA delivered three aircraft, increasing its fleet to 59 aircraft in total.

 Mr Tassapon said TAA saw continued growth in Q1/2018 mainly due to its enthusiastic work in the domestic market, especially in secondary provinces in support of Thai government’s policy.

Thai AirAsia also started operating seven new routes during the quarter: from Bangkok (Don Mueang) to Ranong, Johor Bahru, Chengdu and Chumphon; from Phuket to Macau and Kunming; and from Chiang Mai to Udon Thani.

The airline also increased flight frequencies on 12 routes from Bangkok (Don Mueang) and Pattaya (U-Tapao), while Bangkok (Don Mueang) to Tiruchirappalli, Chiang Mai to Ubon Ratchathani and Ubon Ratchathani to Pattaya (U-Tapao) were suspended as a result of route revenue and capacity management.

“We spent Q1/2018 reinforcing our leadership and strength in the domestic market in line with policies from the government and the Tourism Authority of Thailand. New routes introduced in the quarter were Bangkok (Don Mueang) to Ranong and Chumphon, which Thai AirAsia covers 9 destinations, 19 routes and 69 flights per day in southern part of Thailand,” Mr Tassapon added.

In the international market, Thai AirAsia continued to focus on the CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam) by increasing flight frequencies to offer more options to a variety of customer base.

Together with a strong base in Chinese market, the company sought new opportunities in the high potential market of India in order for Thai AirAsia to grow and be able to compete in the future.

In terms of the operational results in Q1/2018, Mr Tassapon said TAA achieved the targets, especially the growth of 77% net profit year-on-year, resulting from the strong growth in number of passengers carried, high demand of peak season and the appreciation in value of the Thai baht.

“In addition, the high record of load factor at 91% is very impressive,” he noted.

For the second quarter of 2018, Mr Tassapon said TAA is set to continue according to its strategic plan, including increase flight frequencies on popular routes.

For 2018, Thai AirAsia aims to serve 23.2 million passengers, maintains a load factor at 87% and plans to add seven new aircraft during the year to bring its fleet to 63 aircraft in total.



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