“We are kicking ass – in Thailand we are actually much more profitable than AirAsia. We’re kicking the shit out of them,” he said.
Sarasin claimed AirAsia founder “Tony Fernandes called me at 10 o’clock at night and asked if we could swap shares but I politely said no.
“Short haul is doing really well.”
He also told delegates at the recent CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit Thai Lion Air, which entered the market in Dec, 2013, is “suffering very heavily right now in Thailand”.
Last year Thai domestic carriers flew close to 30m pax, Sarasin said, and the extra competition will ensure “it’s going to be a fun ride”.
As will Nok Air’s re-entry to international services (after failing first time around) via a joint venture with Scoot – NokScoot.
Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson said “we’re very close to regulatory approvals and things are progressing really well” but would not be tied to a start date.
North Asia will be the initial focus.