PC Air finally ready to spread its wings
After a nine-month delay, a privately owned Thai airline billed as the world's first carrier to employ the third gender as cabin attendants, is ready to take to the skies.
PC Air is due to commence its maiden commercial service, a charter flight for a tour group from Bangkok to Vientiane on Dec 24, and plans to inaugurate flights to two Chinese cities on a charter basis on Jan 23 next year.
Chartering for Asian tour groups will consist of the initial bulk of its traffic before graduating to a full-fledged flight operator in June according to the requisites set by the Department of Civil Aviation.
The airline conducted a demonstration flight yesterday for media members aboard its sole Airbus 310-222 jet with four ladyboys as part of the crew.
Peter Chan, a Thai national and the airline's sole owner, told reporters the delay was to cash in on high-season demand and not a lack of financing.
"Low-season demand was a factor, as well as flooding later on," said the real estate executive.
In a show of confidence for his new undertaking, Mr Peter, also a former cabin attendant, said he spent nearly 1 billion baht in cash to buy a twin-engine jet from Air Bagan, though most airlines normally lease aircraft to avoid tieing up capital.
It wants to acquire two wide-body jets, likely to be A300-600s, perhaps by the second quarter of next year as it becomes a scheduled flight operator and expands its network.
PC Air has targeted routes to Hong Kong, China, South Korea and Japan, as it feels the domestic market is already too crowded.
Although Mr Peter does not expect PC Air to break even in five years, he has been considering listing on the Thai stock market by then. In the meantime, he will seek equity partners for his airline and work with local and international tour operators to fill seats.
The airline will also continue to open its doors to the third gender for work as cabin attendants. "It's our policy to promote equality," he said.
Among its first batch of 30 cabin attendants are four ladyboys, 19 females and seven males, all of whom are officially certified. One of the ladyboys is Thanyarat Chirapatpakorn (second from right in the photo), who was crowned Miss Tiffany Universe 2007 and is best known as a model and soap opera actress who uses the name "Nong Film".
...majestically enthroned amid the vulgar herd...