Home' Asian Aviation : AAV November 2011 Contents 32 AsianAviation | NOVEM BER 2011
Bangkok Airways op erates out of the Thai capital’s
main Suvarnbhumi Airport. The privately owned
airline has come a long way from its origins in
1968 when it was established a s a charter operator,
supporting construction and oil and gas exploration
projects. It employs 2,000 personnel and ser ves nine
domestic and nine international destinations . Peter
Wiesner has been with the airline since 2000, after
holding a number of senior positions at Swissair.
Q: In a time where we are seeing a
proliferation of low-cost carriers emerging
in Asia, Bangkok Airways stands apart
as a full-service domestic and regional
airline. Please provide an overview of the
company’s operational profile and where
you see its niche in Asia?
PW: We are a full-ser vice airline, catering primarily
for overseas tourists; mainly long-haul travellers that
originate in Europe, North America and Australia .
I would say that up to 85 percent of our passengers
fall into this categ ory. We see ourselves as a boutique
a irline that affords all of our passengers a touch of
luxury, regardless of class of travel.
Q: With a global customer base, how do you
effectively market and sell your product?
PW: Of course we use a range of methods. Th ese
include the IATA Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP),
our own web site – which is working extremely well
– and our interline arrangements, where we currently
have six code-share agreements, which is set to expand
to 14 by the middle of next year.
Q: How do you view major airline alliances?
Is future membership of such a group a
PW: We see the need to have alliances that fit with our
business model and we are currently working through
a programme of evaluation . S ome potential alliance
partners are in Oneworld, others in the Star Alliance
and others are non-aligned carriers. We have also b een
approached by Oneworld and SkyTeam, and will
make a decision next year on whether membership
of either will provide us with positive advantages.
Q: What is the fleet composition at this time
and are there additional aircraft scheduled
to join the fleet?
PW: At this time we have a fleet of 17 aircraft. This
is made up of eight ATR 72-500 [turboprops], three
Airbus A320s and six Airbus A319 [single-aisle jet]
a ircraft. These will be joined by an additional two
A319s over the coming six months and we are also
planning on an additional A320 in November 2012.
We have a number of aircraft coming off lease next
year and are considering our options in extending the
leases or acquiring new aircraft. Regardless, our intent
is to operate two types only, being the ATR 72 and
the Airbus A320 family.
Q: Although you have a significant
domestic route network, you have been
also been building your regional network.
Can you tell us about your plans on this
side of the business?
PW: It is true that we have been building our regional
network and see that this will be a continuing process,
both through direct operation where appropriate and
also codeshare arrangements. We will commence
flying to Bangalore in September and this will be
followed by a third Indian city in March 2012. We
will also have a codeshare with Malaysia Airlines,
where they will be bringing tourists from Kuala
Lumpur and we will then fly them on to Koh Samui .
Q: Bangkok Airways is quite unusual in that
you own and operate Samui airport along
with Sukhothai and Trat. Will you build on
this model, or is the business of running an
airline and airports a challenge?
PW: Of course when you look at the simple metrics of
staff to aircraft, we appear high because of the airport
staff and this can be distracting in its own way. While
owning the airports provides us with unique advantages
in a maj or tourist destination such as Samui, we do not
have plans to build further airports. In the future, we
may separate the two distinct elements, which would
allow complete independence of operation.
Q: How do you cope with fuel-price hikes
and what measures do you employ to
minimize the impact?
PW: We hedge – and have done so up to 40 percent
[of fuel requirements]. This provides a degree of
immunity, although it has its own costs. The ability
to increase domestic fares is more difficult than with
international. With international, it is our experience
that the customer is focused on the basic ticket price
and not the surcharges, but in the domestic market
we have to employ a cautious policy of increasing the
fares as we do not have a separate surcharge element
where the increase can be placed.
Q: With the global push to reduce carbon
emissions, how do you see Bangkok
Airways playing its part?
PW: We have initiated a number of programmes
and continue to do so. We have a policy of [using ]
electric tug s at our airports . Our airport terminals
Senior VP Network
Planning Peter Wiesner
Bangkok Airways operates as a full-service regional airline on nine
domestic routes, as well as nine international destinations. Pat Brennan
spoke with Peter Wiesner, the airline’s senior vice-president of network
planning on the sidelines of July’s Aviation Outlook Summit in Sydney.
“We see the need to have alliances that fit with our business
model and we are currently working through a programme
of evaluation.” – Bangkok Airways’ Peter Wiesner
Bangkok Airways’ Peter Wiesner wants all
the airline’s passengers to experience a
touch of luxury.
28/10/11 8:28 PM
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