Thailand to get new budget airline next year

23 Aug 2011

The Thai national airline has announced it will set up a subsidiary budget carrier to cater for the increasing numbers of air travellers in the region. Piyasvasti. Amranand, the chairman of national flag carrier THAI Airways, said the new arm of the airline will operate under the logo Thai Smile.  

Thai says it is establishing the budget airline to try and win back the market share it has lost in recent years due to the liberalisation of the regional air industry and the entry of numerous new carriers into the business. THAI’s management say they hope to have Thai Smile up and running by July 2012.  

The carrier will initially service domestic routes from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok to domestic cities including Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Chiang Rai and Surat Thani. The airline is due to take delivery early next year of 11 aircraft, among which are four 174-seat Airbus A320s.  

The new airline is expected to run at a loss for its first year of operations, but management hope to soon have the fledgling carrier running at a profit. They say that as the brand gains recognition they will start to service international destinations in the region.  

After balloting staff, THAI officials decided to replace the original name choice of Eng Wings for the airline with Thai Smile as it was deemed more pertinent to Thailand.

The establishment of Thai Smile follows recent news that THAI was trying to set up a joint venture with Singapore based Tiger Airways.

Tags: Thailand new budget airline

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