Hard on the heels of its announcement to buy up to eight ATR 72-600s, Thailand-based Bangkok Airways said its potential IPO cash haul will not be used for expansion, but for consolidation and asset purchase.
“We intend to fully purchase all the new ATR aircraft,” Bangkok Airways president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth told ATW.
The ATR 72-600s will be delivered over the next two years. One will arrive later in 2014, five in 2015 and one in 2016. They will be phased in as replacement for the airline’s existing fleet of ATR 72-500s, likely helped by the proceeds from its IPO.
Bangkok Airways’ IPO, originally announced mid-2013, has seen many delays despite being slated for the fourth quarter of 2013. The current unrest in Thailand, although seemingly a contributor to the delays, is not likely to affect the aircraft purchase plans, Prasarttong-Osoth said.
The carrier has a fleet of eight ATR 72-500s, 10 Airbus A319s and seven A320s flying mainly on domestic, regional international and Indian destinations. It also codeshares with Etihad Airways to Abu Dhabi and Oman.
Assuming the IPO goes ahead in the near future, the airline will achieve a high level of ownership across its fleet, Prasarttong-Osoth said. Thailand has seen a rapid upsurge in activity from the Southeast Asian low-cost carrier (LCC) sector, and owning much of its fleet would put it in a strong position, especially with regional consolidation likely, he added.
“Currently we own 25% of our aircraft and lease the rest. We want to turn that around and own 75% and lease the remainder,” Prasarttong-Osoth said.