Vibrant low-cost airline market to get even busier

Vibrant low-cost airline market to get even busier
Indonesia's Lion Air will launch a Bangkok-Jakarta route next month and also plans to cover many other major destinations in Thailand.

The low-cost airline market in Thailand is expected to see higher competition next year after even more new players enter an already busy sector.

VietJet Air will launch its first flights between Thailand and Vietnam in the first quarter of 2014, while Indonesia's Lion Air will launch a Bangkok-Jakarta route next month and also plans to cover many other major destinations in Thailand.

Both VietJet Air and Lion Air have joined with Thai partners to set up joint ventures in Bangkok.

Mandala Airlines of Indonesia, Tiger of Singapore, Cebu Pacific Air of the Philippines and JetStar of Australia are already flying to Thailand from their home countries.

Among the present major players in the low-cost-carrier market in Thailand are Thai AirAsia, the country's biggest, and Nok Air.

Analysts have said a number of carriers are choosing Bangkok as hub. Next year will be when they try to prove themselves in this competitive market. It is likely that the weaker players will find it increasingly difficult to stay here.

Pricing-cutting is considered a common weapon to lure passengers.

Siam Tiyanont, an analyst at Phillip Capital, told The Nation the market here was open for new players, but the challenge was how they can survive in a competitive market.

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