Customers of Thai Airways will soon start to see the results of its long-term plan to enhance passenger satisfaction through new and retrofitted aircraft development projects.
Thai’s chief executive officer, Piyasvasti Amranand, told Business Traveller in an exclusive interview that he expected “things (regarding seat and inflight entertainment issues) to improve quite substantially from the second quarter of this year when the new planes come in”.
As earlier reported (see news), the airline’s board of directors approved a six-year investment scheme involving the acquisition of 37 new aircraft and delivery of 26 aircraft between 2011 and 2017.
Amranand said: “It’s all moving according to plan.”
To kickstart the renewal campaign, Thai aims to introduce an Airbus A330 with improved cabin products on March 28, 2011 on its Japan routes for starters. Amranand said it would feature business and economy class, with the business class seat slightly angled, “but it will be better than our business class seat in the past and comes with a bigger screen”. On-demand inflight entertainment in economy class will become a standard feature throughout the network – which was not the case previously – and onboard connectivity will be available in all classes eventually.
As for adapting a premium economy section, Amranand said the time was not yet right, but said: “We are looking at it.”
The acquisition of another 37 planes – consisting of 11 narrow-bodied aircraft and 26 wide-bodied aircraft – between 2012 and 2017, Amranand disclosed, would help grow Thai’s fleet from the current 85 aicraft to 105 aircraft. By retiring some planes and adding new ones, they hoped to bring the age of their fleet from 11.7 to 8.5 by 2017.
Meanwhile, the carrier has finally signed Monday the joint-venture agreement with Tiger Airways to create a low-cost carrier to be called Thai Tiger.
Amranand, the former energy minister of Thailand, said that it was important for Thai to launch a low-cost carrier because it had already lost domestic and regional market share to the likes of AirAsia. “And many more low-cost carriers from around the region will be entering Thailand.”
For more details, visit www.thaiairways.com
Margie T Logarta