An executive at Thai startup Really Cool Airlines (LUV) told an audience at the recent 2023 Routes World conference in Istanbul that the airline has pushed back its prospective launch until the second quarter of 2024 and was eyeing Japan as its first market. The carrier would service that market using older leased A330-300s, while also relying on Thailand-based codeshare and interline partners for feeder traffic.

Reported by Simple Flying, the remarks by Wutcharin Thatan, Head of Commercial at Really Cool Airlines, support previous reports in ch-aviation concerning markets and aircraft types. Speaking to ch-aviation in March 2023, Really Cool founder and CEO Patee Sarasin said North Asian markets such as Japan were likely first markets, and while he was initially open to acquiring either Boeing or Airbus widebody types, by August 2023, he said he had settled on Airbus and would use A330-300s as the launch aircraft, with a plan to introduce A350s by 2025. A Really Cool Airlines spokesperson told ch-aviation the lease negotiations for the first aircraft were "a work in progress."

Sarasin has also previously outlined how he wants to partner with Thailand-based domestic carriers rather than compete. He has said Really Cool will concentrate on point-to-point international operations while the domestic carriers can battle it out for market share in an already well-serviced domestic market. However, he sees strategic and financial value in Really Cool Airlines funnelling passenger traffic to and from domestic carriers at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.

However, Thatan did say that Really Cool now expects to start operations in the second quarter of 2024 and is anticipating securing its air operator's certificate in the first quarter. Earlier this year, Sarasin was eyeing a December 2023 start date. Thatan said likely launch destinations would be Tokyo Narita and Nagoya Chubu. ch-aviation capacities data reveals Thai AirAsia X, Thai Airways International, ZIPAIR, JAL - Japan Airlines, and ANA - All Nippon Airways already operate on the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi - Tokyo Narita sector, with Thai AirAsia X the market leader, while Thai Airways International operates on the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi - Nagoya Chubu route. No scheduled passenger flights operate between the two Japanese airports and Bangkok's second airport, Bangkok Don Mueang.

Anticipating four A330-300s by the end of 2024, Thatan told the conference discussions were ongoing about securing more fuel-efficient and modern widebodies down the track.