Thai AirAsia and Thai AirAsia X’s businesses are expected to grow as projected this year, with passengers surpassing 23 million.

Santisuk Klongchaiya, chief executive of Thai AirAsia, said passengers in the first half this year tallied 11.4 million, with a load factor at 87%. Passenger volume for the full year is expected to reach 23.2 million as planned, 5% growth, with a load factor of 85-86%.

He said the most urgent issue for the airline is to regain trust from Chinese tourists after the fatal boat accident last year. The baht appreciation has also affected the Chinese market.

Mr Santisuk said the airline plans to talk with the Tourism Authority of Thailand about creating a special campaign for the Chinese market. Thai AirAsia is also considering opening new routes in South Asia, such as Hyderabad, India and Kathmandu, Nepal, later this year. The airline plans to welcome two more Airbus A321 jets by the end of this year to replace retired aircraft, bringing Thai AirAsia’s fleet to 63.

Nadda Buranasiri, chief executive of AirAsia X group and Thai AirAsia X, said the fleet for Thai AirAsia X will expand from nine to 14 as part of the plan to create a network in North Asia before moving to other regions.

Thai AirAsia X, which operates long-haul routes, carried 1.5 million passengers in the first six months.

Passenger numbers for the full year are projected at 3 million, with a load factor of 85%.

There are some new routes planned in North Asia or Australia, and more frequencies expected to be added, said Mr Nadda.

The airline has put off plans to add other long-haul routes to assess market demand after adding four flights a week on the new Airbus A330neo to Brisbane, Australia.

Thai AirAsia and Thai AirAsia X are budget airlines partially owned by Malaysia’s AirAsia Group Berhad.

Yesterday, Teleport (formerly known as Redcargo Logistics), a fully owned subsidiary air cargo company under AirAsia Group Berhad, signed a memorandum of understanding with Triple i Logistics to set up a joint venture company, Teleport Thailand.

The new venture will start services at the beginning of next year.

Pete Chareonwongsak, chief executive of Teleport, said it offers seamless same-day delivery in e-commerce for both domestic and 140 other destinations in the airline’s network, covering Asia and Australia, with cargo capacity from the 270 aircraft held by AirAsia and affiliated carriers.

“Utilisation of the airline’s belly cargo is only 15%. We plan to use the remaining capacity to benefit small business operators, aiming to utilise cargo capacity of up to 50% within five years,” he said.

The partnership will offer a new logistics business model differing from traditional airport-to-airport cargo movement, said Tipp Dalal, chief executive of Triple i Logistics.