Siam Seaplane (Bangkok Don Mueang) is preparing to launch charter operations during summer 2023, initially using fixed-runway airports, and also sees opportunities for establishing sister airlines in other South-East Asian countries, Chief Business Officer Denis Keller told AirwaysMag.

"The company has taken delivery of its first Cessna (single turboprop) C208EX Grand Caravan aircraft and is now concluding its registration process. The launch of flights is imminent," Keller said. "We start with ground-to-ground charter flights and scenic flights first. And, as water landing sites are put in place, a smooth transition into amphibious seaplane flying will kick off."

The start-up took its first aircraft, N154SB (msn 208B-5076), on November 11, 2022, and has now re-registered it as HS-SSP in Thailand. However, Siam Seaplane has also yet to complete its own certification.

Keller said a further two C208s will arrive "in the coming months". Over the next five years, Siam Seaplane foresees a fleet of up to 15 aircraft in Thailand. It will initially base the aircraft out of one of the Bangkok airports. As its fleet grows, it plans a second base at one of the Andaman Sea leisure hotspots, either Phuket or Krabi.

"The company is also exploring the potential for additional bases in the future," Keller said.

Siam Seaplane is developing up to 40 seaplane waterdromes, some in partnership with luxury resorts. It intends to focus on charter and scenic flights initially but is not excluding scheduled operations in the long term.

The start-up has been in the works since 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted its launch. Nonetheless, Keller remains optimistic that there is enough premium demand in Thailand to justify seaplane operations. The carrier plans to cooperate with luxury resorts on top of direct sales to customers.

Keller revealed that Siam Seaplane is the first start-up under the Seaplane Asia holding company umbrella.

"We haven't advertised [this] as we start with Thailand as our first market. The original idea was that once we saw it grow and become a sustainable business, we would look at other markets. We see a lot of potential not just in Thailand but the entire Asian region," he said.

He divulged that the company was analysing Indonesia as its next market. The archipelagic country is particularly well suited to amphibious operations, and Keller said that the demand could come both from tourists and corporate traffic.

"They have so many potential hubs, be it Bali, Jakarta, Medan, West Sumatra, Papua, and so on. Some are relevant for tourism, others more for corporate. Overall accessibility is a big challenge that partially can be addressed with seaplanes," Keller explained.

Seaplane Asia has also received interest from potential customers in Cambodia and Myanmar, although Keller admitted that the latter has its own "challenging political situation".

According to its website, Seaplane Asia's future Cambodian unit would be called Sovanara Seaplane, and the Indonesian one - Santai Seaplane.

There are currently no commercial seaplane operators in any of the southeast Asian countries although Sama Sama Seaplanes has had longstanding plans to enter the Indonesian market.