New Thai airline to kick off with South Korean service


Thailand is set to gain yet another airline – Thai-Korean joint venture Crystal Thai Airlines (CTA) plans to begin flying between Bangkok and Incheon and Muan on February 3.

Both routes are scheduled for twice-weekly flights on an Airbus A320 in a 174-seat all-economy configuration.

The full-service carrier plans to lease a bigger and longer-range A330-200 in March to launch flights linking Phuket to Incheon. A second A320 is also in the pipeline, and CTA hopes to expand services to include Mumbai, Cochin, Clark, Colombo, Thimphu and Dubai.

Aiming to be the country’s third-largest airline after Thai Airways International and Bangkok Airways, CTA was established last year with a start-up capital of 201 million baht (US$6.5 million). Thai businesswoman Manika Sawasdipan fronts the 51 percent share and undisclosed South Korean partners with strong travel agent connections own the remaining 49 percent.