Thai Lion Air (TLA) has received the green light from Vietnamese authorities to start a Bangkok-Ho Chi Minh City service that was earlier placed in doubt.

Monday’s notification allows the Thai-registered low-cost carrier to maintain its planned flight timetable with the maiden service set to launch on Oct 28, an insider told the Bangkok Post yesterday.

TLA is expected tomorrow to reactivate ticket sales for the route that was abruptly halted earlier this month after Vietnamese authorities required “additional documents” to support the application for a permit.

With the launch of a daily service, TLA will become a new player in the highly-contested route to compete head on with existing operators including Thai AirAsia, Nok Air and Thai Airways International, as well as Vietnam Airlines and VietJet Air.

But the Thai subsidiary of Indonesia’s Lion Group believes there is enough market for it to capture along with other players given the fast-growing traffic demand and future potential, the insider said.

TLA will offer a promotional fare on the Bangkok-Ho Chi Minh City route starting at only 980 baht one-way, heavily undercutting all other airlines.

The fare includes airport tax and fees, a baggage allowance of 30 kilogrammes, an additional sporting equipment allowance of 15kg, seat selection and an onboard snack.

TLA SL176 departs Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport at 5.25am and arrives in Ho Chi Minh City at 7am.

The return flight, SL177, takes off from Ho Chi Minh City at 7.55am and arrives at Don Mueang at 9am.

Meanwhile, TLA has confirmed the launch of its first Chinese destination, Guangzhou, with a daily flight from its Don Mueang base, also starting from Oct 28.

The launch of the Ho Chi Minh City and Guangzhou services form part of an accelerating international expansion.

TLA is offering a limited number of promotional one-way tickets starting from 1,580 baht, inclusive of airport tax and fees, with a baggage allowance of 30kg.

Meanwhile, the carrier is working on adding a few more Chinese cities for regular flights to its 2017 expansion plan, but they have yet to disclose specifics.



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