Thai Airways to launch Thai Smile Air

22 Aug 2011

Thai Airways has finalised the brand name and route network of its “light premium” subsidiary airline.

The new carrier will be called Thai Smile Air, instead of Thai Wings, and will begin operations in July next year with domestic services from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to destinations such as Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen, Chiang Rai and Surat Thani.

By 2013, the carrier will serve regional routes to other destinations in Southeast Asia as well as China and India.

As reported earlier (see story here), Thai Smile Air will start off with a fleet of four Airbus A320 aircraft that will eventually expand to 11 aircraft.

Thai Smile Air, positioned as a full-service regional carrier, will offer business and economy classes as well as inflight meals – an operation model similar to Singapore Airlines’ subsidiary, SilkAir.

The new carrier will enable Thai Airways to enter a lucrative sector of the market that it currently has no presence in. According to Thai Airways’ operating results for the second quarter of this year, the average cabin factor was up by 25.1 percent on domestic routes and 6.8 percent on regional routes compared to last year, showing growing demand for domestic and regional travel.

Eventually, the carrier will also get into the low-cost market with the launch of Thai Tiger (see story here).

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Alisha Haridasani

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