Thai's regional subsidiary positioned as "light premium carrier"

5 Aug 2011

Thai Airways has clarified the positioning of its new regional subsidiary – tentatively named Thai Wings – describing it as a "light premium" carrier. 

The new airline was believed to be Thai’s low-cost offshoot, similar to Singapore Airlines' unnamed low-cost carrier (see story here). However, Cockchai Panyayong, Thai’s executive vice-president for strategy and business development, has revealed that it will be a full service, regional product instead, like SilkAir. It will offer a business class cabin, baggage allowance and inflight meals.

Thai also announced that Thai Wings will use Airbus A320 aircraft when it begins operations next year. The fleet will initially consist of four A320s to be used on domestic and short-haul routes, eventually expanding to 11 aircraft. Network details have not yet been released.

The development follows in the wake of the Thai transport ministry's recent rejection of Thai’s bid to form a low-cost carrier as part of a joint venture with Tiger Airways. The two carriers had proposed forming Thai Tiger Airways in August last year (see story here).

Due to this, it is now unclear how Thai Wings will help Thai Airways reclaim lost ground in the low-cost carrier market in Asia-Pacific, which has been growing exponentially. Although Thai holds a stake in budget carrier, Nok Air, it was the Thai Tiger project that Thai president Piyasvasti Amranand identified as their chosen vehicle to enter the no-frills arena.

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Alisha Haridasani

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