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Week 36


Thai EastarJet’s first aircraft arrives in Bangkok

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September 6th 2019

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New joint venture airline will fly to Korea and offer charter flights. Read More »

Korean aviation has largely been a local industry without foreign LCC brands or Korean carriers forming their own offshore units.

That will change with the launch of Thai EastarJet, a joint venture airline between namesake Korean LCC, EastarJet, and EastarJet Air Service Company that appears to be linked to a Thai general sales agent (GSA), according to Thansettakij Multimedia.

Individual small investors are Sok Ho Park and Chatchai Chaiphithak and registered capital is reported to be THB200 million (US$6.5 million).

Its first aircraft arrived at Bangkok Don Mueang on September 2 from Montpellier via Dubai, according to spotting logs. The aircraft is in EastarJet’s typical livery, including the main name titles saying only “EastarJet”. The nose contains a Thai flag and in smaller titles “Thai EastarJet”. The aircraft is named “Daniel”.

It carries local Thai registration HS-SJB and is a 737-800, like most of the fleet of the Korean parent. It is a nine-year-old frame on lease from an unknown lessor, continuing the Korean strategy of leasing inexpensive older 737s. It previously flew with Air China.

Thai Eastarjet is the first new Thai airline to be licensed after the International Civil Aviation Organisation, removed its red flag on Thailand in October 2017. Thailand’s minister of transport granted the airline its license in late November 2018, according to Thailand’s Daily News. The airline has one year to complete the AOC process.

Preliminary licensing documentation said the airline would have a low-cost business model and fly scheduled flights from Thailand to Korea as well as operate charter flights. There is industry discussion, unconfirmed by the airline, that it will include charters to Dubai. This would seem to keep the airline out of other regional scheduled routes and Thai’s competitive domestic market.

EastarJet in Korea has sought to distance itself from the Thai unit and the relationship between them is unclear. There is a suggestion the Thai unit is driven more by the Thai GSA than EastarJet in Korea. By lending its brand and other businesses to the joint venture, EastarJet in Korea could benefit from a cheaper Thai-based operating platform on flights between Korea and Thailand.

Also reportedly seeking a license in Thailand is proposed start-up, Thai Summer Airways. It will be an LCC and have funding from unspecified Thai and Chinese investors. Recruitment ads say the airline will be based at U-Tapao Pattaya. There is a preference for cabin crew who speak Chinese, perhaps an indication Thai Summer will join others in flying charters to mainland China.

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