Thailand's Ministry of Transport has issued an air operator's licence (AOL) to P80 Air (PMG). The AOL is a precursor to securing an air operator's certificate (AOC). The startup is now eyeing a launch in the third quarter of 2024.

P80 Air spokesman Sorakrit Wannala told Bangkok-based media outlets this week that he expects it to take eight to ten months to gain the AOC, after which the airline wants to start flying on the Thailand - China country pair using B737-800s. Wannala says P80 Air intends to have four aircraft flying within 12 months of its first flights.

The airline is one of several startups in Thailand, including Really Cool Airlines, Landarch Airlines, and Siam Seaplane, attempting to get into the air and capitalise on resurgent inbound traveller flows into the country.

Bangkok's Mahagitsiri family is behind P80 Air. Patriarch Prayut Mahagitsiri is reportedly Thailand's 12th richest person with a net worth of USD2.5 billion. He made his money in the coffee industry and has a long-standing joint venture with Swiss food and drink multinational Nestle. His son, Chalermchai Mahagitsiri, is now the CEO of the family's holding company, the PM Group.

Aside from P80 Air, the family's investments include a music label called Four One One Entertainment Co., Ltd; a real estate joint venture called PMT Property Co., Ltd; a coffee production facility and country master franchise agreements for Taco Bell, Krispy Creme, and Pizza Hut under the umbrella of an entity called PH Capital Co., Ltd; a film manufacturing and printing entity called the Thai Film Industry Public Company Limited; and the family's headline corporate entity, Thoresen Thai Agencies Public Company Limited, which has interests across the agriculture, chemicals, and food and beverage sectors, among others.