Thai Airways confirmed (Mar-2012) THAI Smile’s first flight will commence on 01-Jul-2012 after receiving its first brand new aircraft in Jun-2012 and commencing ticket sales on 01-Apr-2012. Thai Smile's first routes will be from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Kaohsiung, Shenzhen, Macau and Surabaya, with Phuket to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Chang Mai to follow. The carrier is scheduled to operate a fleet of four aircraft in 2012, increasing to six in 2013, eight in 2014 and 11 in 2015. This 11 aircraft fleet will be maintained through 2018. Nok Air, 49% owned by Thai Airways, will continue to operate domestic point-to-point services from Bangkok Don Mueang to 18 points across the country.
THAI Smile to launch service on 01-Jul-2012 with services to Kaohsiung, Shenzhen, Macau and Surabaya
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Thai Airways falls behind Singapore Airlines Group with regional connectivity: Part 1
Thai Airways will enter a new phase over the next year as it completes its transformation plan and starts to consider potential options for resuming expansion. Regional international growth is the most logical area to focus on, using the group’s full service short haul subsidiary Thai Smile.
Thai Smile currently only serves four international destinations. As Thai Airways mainline transitions to an all-widebody fleet the group will need a much larger international network from Thai Smile.
Thai Airways should also examine better integration of Thai Smile, following the model used by Singapore Airlines (SIA) with its full service regional subsidiary SilkAir. The current setup, including separate reservation systems and sales teams, is far from ideal and must be improved in order for the Thai Airways Group to close the gap with the SIA Group in key markets such as China, India and ASEAN.
Thai Airways uses Thai Smile to pursue rapid strategic expansion of ASEAN network
Thai Airways and its regional subsidiary Thai Smile are accelerating expansion in Southeast Asia as part of a new strategy for the ASEAN market. Under the new strategy, Thai Smile is increasing focus on Southeast Asia while pursuing closer integration with its parent airline.
Thai Smile plans to launch several new international destinations within Southeast Asia by the end of 2016. The new Thai Smile routes will boost the Thai Airways Group’s ASEAN network from 12 to 18 international destinations, while increasing capacity to some existing destinations which will be served by both brands.
The new strategy is a positive step as Thai has fallen behind its competitors in developing a regional network. The expanded presence in ASEAN – and the long overdue closer integration between Thai Airways and Thai Smile – should also generate new feed for Thai’s long haul network.