Mar 02, 2012 (LBO) – Low-cost carrier AirAsia’s Thai unit has begun direct flights connecting Bangkok with the Sri Lankan capital Colombo aiming to attract tourists and pilgrims in both countries whose main religion is Buddhism. Tassapon Bijleveld, chief executive of Thai AirAsia, said they expect a load factor of around 75-80 percent in the first 5-6 months based on existing bookings.
The first flight was on Thursday March 01, 2012 with AirAsia’s new Airbus 180-seat A320 planes.
The flight duration on the daily frequency is three hours and 10 minutes from Colombo to Bangkok and three hours and 40 minutes on the return.
Promotional fares to Bangkok start from 6,990 rupees one way. Low-cost carriers like AirAsia have low ticket prices but only carry-on baggage is allowed. Passengers have to pay extra for onboard meals and drinks and check-in baggage.
AirAsia’s initial fare offered on the Colombo – Bangkok route was on average about half that of legacy airlines, Bijleveld told a news conference.
He said that like in the hotel trade, the lower the fare would be, the earlier the booking is made.
“Low fares have made it affordable for many people to fly.”
Asked about AirAs