Patee Sarasin, a veteran in Thailand’s fraught aviation industry, has launched his own airline in Thailand, called Really Cool Airlines. Patee is well known for being the former CEO of budget carrier Nok Air, which he stepped down from in 2017 after leading the airline for 13 years.
The airline industry has been badly affected by the pandemic, but Patee is optimistic about the future and aims to offer a unique experience to passengers that falls between luxury and budget carriers, with the slogan “We Fly the Future”.
The Bangkok-based airline will be marketed as a full-service “lifestyle carrier”, initially operating with two leased, twin-aisle Airbus A330 aircraft, with two more planes set to join the small fleet next year. Really Cool Airlines will focus mainly on international routes to avoid competition with well-established domestic carriers, targeting international passengers, which account for 70% of Thailand’s air travellers.
Potential routes will serve Australia, China, France, Japan and the UK. Flight routes will be announced in two months, followed by the first flight in December, right in time for the high season airline traffic.
The new carrier’s parent company is RC Airlines Co Ltd, founded on March 2 with registered capital of 200 million baht. Patee is the parent firm’s founder and one of its three directors. The airline is adopting new technologies and innovative ideas to help reduce operating costs and increase passenger comfort.
Patee is well known for his “outgoing personality” and entertainment skills, appearing in several adverts, taking a guest role in the popular TV drama series “Gentlemen of Jutathep”, and joining a singing contest in “The Masked Singer” TV show.
Patee was born on October 24, 1961, into a wealthy Thai-Chinese family, and was educated mostly overseas, attending high school in England before furthering his studies in the United States. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business management and computer science from Clark University and a master’s in mass communications from American University in Washington.
He started his career in the advertising business working with the Lintas and Spa agencies, before becoming chief executive of the Thai arm of multinational advertising firm Bates at the age of 31.
Patee shifted to the aviation industry by joining Nok Air at its birth in 2004. He presided over a turbulent decade for the budget airline, which suffered huge losses during his leadership, and his personal apologies were required on several occasions when the airline faced issues such as the check-in system collapse in 2015 and a pilot strike in 2016.