Middle East Low-Cost Carriers Eye Thailand For Expansion

Low-cost competition is hotting up in the Middle East and we’re already seeing airlines better their offerings to play off the opposition. It appears Thailand is the next go-to destination for these carriers. flydubai and Salam Air have recently announced Thai destinations as they expand their networks. But why?

Middle East Low-Cost Carriers Eye Thailand For Expansion
flydubai and Salam Air are both interested in Thai destinations. Photo: flydubai

Salam Air demonstrates its strength

flydubai and Salam Air have both increased their presence in Thailand with new destinations announced. Both air carriers disclosed news on 12th December 2019 about their respective Thai ventures, one which flydubai has already embarked upon. For Salam Air, its newly announced routes will take place within the next 10 days.

From 24th December 2019, Salam Air will begin an inaugural route to Phuket from Muscat in Oman. The Thai destination is popular with travelers worldwide but is a particular preference for Omani travelers, according to the airline.

Salam Air will be offering its new route three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays with the hope of opening further services to Thailand. This service is thought to be a safe start for developing a network in a very profitable area, which will majorly improve connections between the Middle East and Thailand.

Salam Air hopes that the Phuket route will be just one of many Thai services. Photo: Salam Air

In a press release, Salam Air said that this was an opportune moment to increase tourism for incoming passengers to Oman. However, the CEO also suggested that the move was key for demonstrating the airline’s strength as well. Captain Mohamed Ahmed said:

“We are delighted to enter Thailand…This new route demonstrates our commitment to continually expand our network. Expansion has been a top priority for us and we are proud to have recorded significant progress on this front this year since we have added several new destinations. We will continue with our network and fleet expansion in 2020.”

With an already growing fleet, there’s no reason why Salam Air won’t be opening new Thai routes if the inaugural to Phuket goes well.

flydubai now fly to Krabi

But Salam Air is not alone in flying to Thailand. Low-cost flydubai touched down in Krabi on 12th December 2019 on its inaugural Thai route, becoming the first of the United Arab Emirates’ airlines to travel to the Southern Thai region.

flydubai expects that the route will provide better connections for Dubai travelers into Thailand. But the service is also an excellent opportunity to feed passengers from Thailand to Dubai where they can access a network of international destinations. The service will provide that vital link for customers looking to travel beyond the UAE. From Dubai, passengers can travel on one of the many international carriers that serve internationally, such as flag carrier Emirates.

Middle East Low-Cost Carriers Eye Thailand For Expansion
flydubai’s Thailand service could feed passengers for Emirates. Photo: flydubai

But there’s another reason why Thailand might be an excellent destination for these two airlines.

Profitable routes

There’s no question that long-haul narrowbody routes are on the rise. Salam Air operated an Airbus A320 Family only fleet whilst flydubai operates solely Boeing 737 aircraft. With increased fuel efficiency and improved range, narrowbodies are becoming more profitable and much easier to operate on long-haul journeys.

And Thailand makes the perfect place for these airlines to branch out with their narrowbody fleet. They already have customer interest and the economic value of network expansion in Thailand. So now both airlines can now work towards meeting that customer demand. It almost seems like a no-brainer to invest in this Southeast Asian gem.

Will we see more Middle-Eastern carriers expanding into Thailand? Let us know your thoughts in the comment below!