Thai AirAsia X delays launch

The launch of long-haul low-fare Thai Asia X (TAAX) is delayed as the civil unrest in Thailand has cast a pall over traffic demand.

No firm date has been set for the launch, which was earlier planned for March, as Tassapon Bijleveld, a major TAAX stakeholder, insisted the postponement is necessary due to escalating political tensions.

"We review the political effect on the market every two months, and until the turbulence eases we will not start,'' he told the Bangkok Post.

Mr Tassapon, also the chief executive of Thai AirAsia, the country's largest low-cost carrier, defined the easing of unrest as at least some of the 47 countries and territories lifting their travel advisories for Thailand. Because it operates on international routes, TAAX is reliant on foreign passengers.

But he indicated TAAX will eventually launch at some point, regardless of market opportunities.

The airline has had one Airbus 330-300 jet stationed at Bangkok's Don Mueang airport since January this year, and received an air operator's certificate from the Civil Aviation Department.

TAAX did not set a date to take delivery of its second A330-300, configured with 365 economy-class seats and 12 business-class seats. Its initial jet is temporarily being used for charter purposes until TAAX starts commercial flights.

The airline named Nadda Buranasiri, who had a long career at Warner Music (Thailand), as the first chief executive.

Mr Tassapon said China, South Korea and Japan are the initial markets covered.

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