(15 Apr 2021) Phoenix Aviation, a Hong Kong-based aviation advisory company, has unveiled a plan to market Hua Hin International Airport (HHQ), Hua Hin (หัวหิน), Prachuap Khiri Khan (ประจวบคีรีขันธ์), Cha-Am (ชะอำ) and Petchaburi (เพชรบุรี), to regional travellers and businesses.
The airport, located around two hours from Suvarnabhumi Int. Airport (BKK) near Bangkok, is currently undergoing a major renovation and expansion project that began in 2020.
The runway, taxiway, security, passenger terminal and services are all being upgraded so that it can handle more passengers and flights.
Thai AirAsia launched Chiang Mai (CNX) – Hua Hin and Udon Thani (UTH) – Hua Hin flights in August of last year, the airline’s very first flights to Hua Hin. Santisuk Klongchaiya, the airline’s CEO, said at the time, “AirAsia is very pleased to be able to play an active part in reviving domestic tourism and travel industry in the country … This is the very first time AirAsia Thailand is flying to Hua Hin and we are very pleased with the early demand for these new services with both routes registering a staggering 85 percent load factor on average.
“Hua Hin is one of the top destinations amongst Thai travellers and we are confident that both of these direct regional services will continue to be popular among visitors looking for a quick weekend getaway. Chiang Mai and Udon Thani are also popular destinations in the north and northeast, and we believe the introduction of these routes is not only great for consumers, but also for tourism and for stimulating local economies.”
So how will Phoenix Aviation develop business at the airport?
During a press conference in Hua Hin on Wednesday, John Laroche, CEO of Phoenix Group, said, “Our interest and expertise is targeted at small and regional airports, a sector of the airport industry that has been widely overlooked, when it comes to realizing privatization benefits. There are many good examples of successful privatization of large airports, for instance Sydney and Copenhagen, but, it’s the emergence of a Japanese small and regional model which has shown recent success that provides a foundation base for learning.”
Phoenix has set a target of 2 flights per day and 100,000 passengers in 2022, with markets within 6-7 hours being the priority. Their aim is to grow this to 5 flights per day and 1,000,000 passengers by 2025.
The critical issue to overcome, according to Khun Udorn Olsson, Chairman of Phoenix Aviation Thailand, is “the need to create critical mass, prior to introducing a host of new routes, services and associated investment … The link between airport and town is the breakthrough concept that the Phoenix-Plan delivers. A partnership between airport and town will allow for new passenger services, unique sponsorship partnering opportunities, introduction of special tourist services, in town, as well as at the airport, while achieving acceptable returns on investment for everyone in the airport-town ecosystem.”
The Phoenix-Plan covers airside, landside and town services, including a new Airport-Hua Hin membership program, media, duty free, welcome and departure VIP services and in-town events, created and delivered by the Phoenix Group.
The plan consists of ‘Live-Learn-Work-Play’ – the B2B program, and ‘Open to the World’ – the B2V (business to visitor) program.
With Live-Learn-Work-Play, the goal is to work with the business sector and create customized programs and solutions. For example, Phoenix will offer special programs to a hotel’s proprietary global network, will assist real estate developers by chartering flights for clients to visit Hua Hin, will work with tour operators and package a suite of hotels-transportation-attractions, will help academic institutions give comfort to arriving students with special services, will focus on VIP services at the airport, through meeting facilities, executive lounges, airplane pick up and more.
Open to the World is an overarching program that is visitor and customer facing. The airport will work with hotels, attractions, restaurants, bars, health & wellness centers and retail, to promote those parties under a common theme and on a common platform, with program that reinforces each other’s products and services.
“Unlike traditional airport operators, we are first marketers. Our experience reaches further than operating airports, bringing a wealth of our previous success from shopping malls, consumer products, events management and loyalty programs. Our focused experience will be realized through our B2B and B2V programs. We believe our customers will see a difference from the moment they consider Hua Hin as a destination, before they even arrive,” added John.
Editor’s note: As the above video interview was conducted over the internet, I would like to apologise that the audio and visual quality are not up to the same HD/UHD quality that they normally would be. Hopefully it won’t be too long until we are once again conducting exclusive video interviews in person, but for now we have to make do with what we have. Thank you.