Thai VietJetAir (VZ, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi) is preparing to radically restructure both its network and fleet as it moves to phase out its Airbus aircraft and bring in Boeing planes while also switching from a domestic to international focus.

Speaking at Routes Asia 2023 recently, CEO Woranate Laprabang said revenue increased by 100% in 2022 and he expects to see a similar result this year. Already, the low-cost carrier is pivoting away from its traditional Thai domestic market, with Thai VietJet also now flying to Viet Nam, Japan, China, Cambodia, Singapore, and Taiwan. Nonetheless, currently nine out of the airline's top ten busiest routes (when measured by available seat kilometres (ASKs) and flight frequencies) are domestic, with only one international route - Bangkok Suvarnabhumi - Da Nang, coming in at eighth place on both metrics. However, Woranate expects ASKs on international sectors to increase by 35% this year, and 300% when the full network restructuring is completed later this decade.

The CEO also confirmed that the existing fleet of twelve A320-200s and six A321-200s, which all come on leases from affiliate VietJetAir (VJ, Hanoi Noi Bai International), will be phased out by 2024. In mid-2023, Thai VietJet will receive its first B737-8, the first of 50 it will receive between then and 2027. These planes are taken from a 200-strong order placed by VietJet. As the Boeings arrive, the Airbus aircraft will be progressively returned to VietJet.

Woranate faces a problem in that while he is keen to expand, and he has flagged Indochina as the initial region he wishes to target, followed by the wider ASEAN region, he faces a pilot shortage as well as a need to plan capital expenditure carefully. Thai VietJet managed to pull through the pandemic and the almost total shut down of Thailand's passenger airline industry and is now the third largest carrier in the country when measured by ASKs, and the fourth largest when measured by flight movements. Woranate, who has extensive experience in the local aviation industry, having worked at Thai Airways International (TG, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi) for eight years and Thai Smile (Bangkok Suvarnabhumi) for three years, wants to continue to recovery trajectory, but says Thai VietJet's expansion will be conducted "humbly."