BANGKOK – The novel coronavirus outbreak takes its toll on airlines as Thai AirAsia projects a three-per cent loss of revenue in the first quarter of this year from a drop in passenger number by about 300,000.
Santisuk Klongchaiya, chief executive of Thai AirAsia (TAA) said the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak prompted the airline to suspend three daily direct flights to Wuhan and the Chinese government also ordered travel agencies to suspend tours to contain virus outbreak.
These factors are likely to cause a drop in passenger number by 200,000 in the first quarter and by about 300,000 persons, including charter flights.
To create confidence among its passengers, Thai AirAsia has adopted measures to ensure their safety by implementing thermal screening for passengers, departing from China and Thailand and its aircraft are fitted with HEPA Filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter), said Santisuk.
He said he believed that the new coronavirus outbreak would only have a short –term impact and the state and private sectors could have tourism stimulus plans to draw Chinese tourists back to Thailand after the situation eases.
In the meantime, the airline eyes other travel routes to replace Chinese markets and offset its loss. Destinations in southern Japan such as Fukuoka have good potential and quite popular among Thai tourists. Japanese people from this region are also interested to travel to Thailand, he added. (TNA)