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Thai Lion Air receives first A330-300 wide-body aircraft

Thai Lion Air receives first A330-300

2017 11 27

2017 11 27

On November 22, 2017, the first of Thai Lion Air's three Airbus A330-300 wide-body aircraft arrived in Bangkok. Thai low-cost airline is planning to take delivery of two other Airbus A330-300s in December 2017, strengthening its fleet of narrow-body aircraft which already consists of 27 Boeing 737-800s and 737-900ERs.  The delivery of the first Airbus A330-300 aircraft follows carrier's extension plans for entry into medium- to long-haul flight services. A fleet of three Airbus A330-300s will be used to operate new medium-haul routes to North Asia.

Aswin Yangkirativorn, CEO of Thai Lion Air, told the Bangkok Post that it is expected TLA will start flying its new aircraft internationally in the first quarter of 2018 with Phuket-Shanghai, which is currently being served on a charter basis with B737 aircraft. The debut of regular A330-300s services to Japan's Narita and South Korea's Incheon is also most likely to take place in 2018, the Bangkok Post informs.

Thai Lion Air has started a new phase in its expansion in November 2017. The international market now accounts for a third of Thai Lion's capacity, compared to less than 6% in early 2016. Thai Lion has cut domestic capacity in 2017, freeing up aircraft to expand in the international market. The carrier's fleet is expected to be expended after adding several 737 MAX 8s in 2018.

Thailand's domestic market is intensely competitive and generally oversupplied, making international expansion a more attractive proposition. Thai Lion focused almost all of its expansion in the domestic market in the first two and a half years after its late 2013 launch. Now the carrier operates nearly 250 international departures per week, while its domestic operation has been cut to 700 weekly departures.

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