Low cost carriers to expand routes once ICAO red flag lifted from Thai carriers

Thai Lion Air is expanding to China, Korea and Japan with the purchase of three new Airbus wide-body jets that will offer a premium economy section with seats that lie flat and free in-seat entertainment. The airline expects to take delivery of the new planes by the end of the year and have already secured rights for flights to Shanghai. They have already submitted applications for Beijing and hope to have regular flights out of Don Mueang International Airport to these destinations as well as to Japan and South Korea. These routes are already served by low cost carriers Thai AirAsia X and NokScoot. Thai AirAsia X is also purchasing new planes and plans on adding routes to Eastern Europe and adding more flights to Japan and South Korea. The airline is hoping to add the flights once the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) removes the red flag from Thai-registered carriers that was put in place two years ago while the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand addressed significant safety issues. The red flag is expected to be removed by October but the process of obtaining permission and routes could see flights to Eastern Europe in the second half of 2018.

The Department of Airports plan on adding one –stop service desks for tourists at all 29 of its provincial airports, allowing tourists to book accommodation, tour packages, rental cars and other services at the airport upon arrival. The booths will also offer free Wi-Fi and will offer local products at souvenir shops. The project will begin at Buri Ram, Nan, and Ranong due to their potential tourist destinations and is part of the drive to promote new, local destinations for
Thai and foreign tourists.

A Hong Kong developer is keen on the Thong Lor area and is adding two new luxury developments in the area this month and in November. The newly founded company backed by a Hong Kong investor will be launching a a seven-storey condo project worth 1.6 billion baht on Thong Lor Soi 23 with 52 units priced from 17-65 million baht. The joint venture firm plans on launching 2-3 more projects in the area in the next five years. Another Hong Kong investor in a joint venture firm is planning on building a 43-storey condo with 338 units priced from 12 million baht a unit on Sukhumvit Road near the Thong Lor BTS station. Phahonyothin – Ladprao are also attracting developers seeking to take advantage of the growing popularity in the area. The Bang Sue station that will serve as a hub for electric train lines to connect with upcoming high speed trains is adding to the development in the area.

Thai Military Bank (TMB) Analytics has raised its projected growth rate from 3.3 percent this year to 3.5 percent based on robust exports and predicted the GDP would reach 3.8 percent in 2018. The research unit raised its export growth forecast from 2 percent for 2017 to 5.8 percent due to strong export growth in the first seven months of the year. However, it forecasts a lower rate of 4.8 percent in 2018. The unit expects the Bank of Thailand to maintain its current policy rate of 1.5 percent this year but could raise it next year.

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