02nd March 2012, www.dailynews.lk, By Shirajiv Sirimane
AirAsia, the World’s best Low-Cost Airline, celebrates their inaugural flights from Colombo to Bangkok yesterday.
Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO of Thai AirAsia, “We are very excited to open up a world of opportunities for people to shop, sight-see, and experience all the flavors that Thailand has to offer, at a very affordable price. “Since tickets for this route went on sale on 4 January 2012, we have received tremendous positive feedback and we are very pleased to see that there is much demand for travel between the two cities”.
He said that they are currently operating on a 70% load factor and this would increase to 80% soon.
“As a low-cost carrier to fly to Sri Lanka, AirAsia is committed to offering the best fares on our brand-new Airbus A320 planes”. Bijleveld also believes that this new route will bring in a surge of visitors and business people from Thailand which will significantly stimulate Sri-Lanka’s travel industry. “Many Thai Buddhists love to visit Sri Lanka’s temples and religious sites during their Buddhist pilgrimage. We look forward to promoting such a beautiful destination along with the country’s UNESCO World Heritage sites”, said the CEO.
Currently around 50, 000 Sri Lankans travel to Thailand and only 5,000 fly from Thailand to Sri Lanka. “With AirAsia this gap would narrow,” he said.
Asked why they were late to include Colombo to their radar he said that it was because they first wanted to concentrate on domestic, China and India.
On the other hand, Bangkok’s temples, colorful night life, and mouth-watering cuisine is now within everyone’s reach and budget, thanks to AirAsia’s daily flights. The 180-seat Airbus A320 has leather seats and a variety of in-flight meals to choose from.
Apart from Bangkok, AirAsia’s connectivity extends to other destinations in Thailand that passengers can easily connect to from Bangkok including world-famous beach destinations such as Phuket or the charming city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Thai AirAsia currently flies to 12 destinations within Thailand and 16 international destinations from Bangkok including Singapore, Bali, Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou, Shenzen, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Chennai, Chongqing, Colombo, Kolkata, Yangon, Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
AirAsia, the leading and largest low-cost carrier in Asia, services the most extensive network with approximately 139 routes. Within 10 years of operations, AirAsia has carried over 100 million guests and grown its fleet from just two aircraft to approximately 106.
The airline today is proud to be a truly ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) airline with established operations based in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines servicing a network stretching across all ASEAN countries, China, India, Sri Lanka and Australia.