The Thai Transport Ministry has announced that there are four companies seeking licenses to operate airline services in Thailand – P80 Air, Really Cool Air, Landarch Airline and Siam Seaplane. The process of obtaining air service licenses is expected to take some time, and the four new airlines are expected to be approved to operate next year.
They join a crowded sky over Thailand which already has Thai Air Asia, Thai Airways, Thai Lion Air, Thai Viet Jet, Nok Air and Bangkok Airways. Thai Smile, the short haul and discount offshoot from Thai Airways is expected to be amalgamated into the parent company.
The four new aviation companies have contacted the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) for an air operating license (AOL). Once they get an AOL, they can proceed to ask for an air operating certificate for carrying out airline services. The source revealed that P80 Air has made the most progress as it has already applied for an AOL, and its application is being considered by the CAAT.
It is expected that Really Cool Air will submit its AOL application soon, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
P80Air will be operated by the P80 Air Co Ltd, which is owned by Prayudh Mahagitsiri, whose Thoresen Thai Agencies (TTA) also has several logistics companies in its stable, including a marine transport firm. The company is expected to invest about 2 billion baht to get the new airline off the ground. It will provide both chartered and regular flights, using Boeing 787-800 planes. In the first year, the airline will lease four planes for the services and expand its fleet to 20 in four years.
On the other hand, Really Cool Air is owned by Patee Sarasin, the former CEO of Nok Air. After leaving Nok Air, Patee started a tourism booking platform called Really Really Cool. The source said Really Cool Air will also be a full-service airline, offering long-haul flight services to Australia and Europe.
The source added that M-Landarch Co Ltd, which is the authorised distributor of Cessna planes in Thailand, will operate the Landarch Airline with Cessna C208B aircraft. Each Cessna C208B can fly up to 12 passengers, and the airline will operate from Hat Yai to other southern provinces. Initially, it will fly to Betong in Yala, Naratiwat and Surat Thani.
Finally, Siam Seaplane will be run by Siam Seaplane Co Ltd, using its fleet of seaplanes to provide flight services to tourist destinations on the sea. The source said the CAAT is likely to approve Siam Seaplane to initially provide taxi services instead of full route services until the CAAT is certain of its safety.