Thai AirAsia (TAA) looks set to start serving Vientiane as the second city in Laos, which until recently was largely off-limits to lowcost carriers (LCCs). TAA will become the first no-frills airline to operate on the Bangkok-Vientiane route when it launches daily flights in July. The Vientiane start-up follows TAA’s successful entry to Luang Prabang. The airline commenced a daily service from Bangkok on March 24th, becoming the first LCC to serve the old royal city. TAA aims to attract many Thais who normally travel to the Laotian capital by catching a domestic flight from Bangkok to Udon Thani before traveling by road to Vientiane.
“We believe there will be a lot of people who want to fly directly to Vientiane, avoiding hassles, cutting travel time and saving travel costs related to multi-mode transportation,” he said. “We think we can fly them directly with a fare of only 1,500 baht [one-way],” he added. Laos’ Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism estimated there were 4.3 million international tourist arrivals to the landlocked state last year, an increase of 4.88% from 4.1 million in 2014, generating US$670 million in revenue. Thai nationals represented the majority of those arrivals, followed by Vietnamese and Chinese.