Thai Lion Air to launch Utapao ops in 3Q17

Thai Lion Air (SL, Bangkok Don Mueang) plans to launch operations from Utapao airport, connecting to either the Chinese mainland or domestic destinations. The Bangkok Post reports that Thai Lion Air has lodged an application with the Utapao Airport Authority (UAA) and has established a ticket office at the airport’s soon-to-be-opened new passenger terminal.

Located on Thailand’s eastern seaboard, Utapao has strong tourism potential. The UAA plans to increase the airport’s capacity to 3 million annual passengers by 2017 and 5 million by 2020.

Thai Lion Air is primarily based out of Bangkok Don Mueang, where it operates to domestic destinations, as well as to China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, and Myanmar. It has a smaller base at Hat Yai.

Rival low cost carrier Thai AirAsia (FD, Bangkok Don Mueang) has been slowly solidifying its position at Utapao since commencing operations there in mid-2015. It added daily links to Phuket and Ubon Ratchathani last month, bringing its total destinations served from the coastal airport to eight.

Also operating scheduled services out of Utapao are Bangkok Airways (PG, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi) and Kan Air (K8, Chiang Mai) from Thailand, and Russia’s S7 Airlines (S7, Novosibirsk).