Low-cost airline, Norwegian says it will establish a base in Bangkok to support its long-haul services between the Thai capital and Oslo after it introduces the new service over the weekend.
The airline already serves New York from Scandinavia using an Airbus A340 and will take delivery of eight Boeing Dreamliners that will become the backbone of its long-haul fleet. Ahead of Norwegian’s first flights to Asia, the low-cost airline confirmed it will use Bangkok as a base to develop traffic to Europe and feed services to New York. “We are convinced that the major tourist flows will go from Asia to Europe in the coming years and are therefore positioning ourselves with a base in Bangkok that will operate routes to Europe and the US,” the airline communications manager, Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen, told TTR Weekly in an email communication.
To build its brand and attract bookings the airline says it will use mainly online promotional channels and its own online reservations website to capture bookings. What the airline may have overlooked is the dominance of travel agency sales in the Bangkok airline market. At least 70% of all ticket sales are still booked through traditional travel agencies and this trend is not likely to diminish in the near future, reports TTR Weekly.
Low-fare, Norwegian is seen as a serious threat to legacy airlines, such as SAS and Finnair, as it snatches a valuable slice of the Nordic outbound travel market within Europe. SAS has withdrawn from the Bangkok market entirely this summer and it is very likely that Norwegian could fill the gap and make it more difficult for SAS to resume its Bangkok-Copenhagen services later in the year.
SAS is supposed to resume services during the winter timetable, but that could change dramatically if low-cost competition eats away at economy class revenue on a very competitive routes to Europe.
A reliable hotel source told TTR Weekly that Norwegian representatives had talked to apartment block owners to rent accommodation for crews and also use them for travelers who want to book both air fare and hotel accommodation in the Thai capital.