As a comeback to the increasing demand for lower fares, without sacrificing service and comfort, on regional routes in Asia, Thai Airways International has established THAI Smile, the latest sub-brand business unit of Thai Airways, created under the concept of stylish, affable and commendable service and operating to regional and domestic destinations within the a 3-hour flying time. The new service will operate as a Business Unit within THAI’s corporate structure and under the same Airline Operator Certificate (AOC) and two-letter carrier code (TG) as THAI. Airlines route network will focus on ASEAN, China and India. THAI Smile commenced it first flight to Macau on 7th July, 2012. The service offers twice-daily flights to Macau, with conveniently-timed departures in each direction.
THAI Smile’s service is an integrated part of THAI, not a separate entity and not a different airline. It was created to serve the competitive market segment for more price-sensitive aviation services on some domestic routes within Thailand and to key international destinations within the Asia region from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. The chief target markets are new travelers, especially the younger generation, tourists, business travelers and government officials. Estimated target is to carry 300,000 passengers by the end of 2012, and up to one million passengers in 2013.
The THAI Smile fleet consists of 11 pristine, fuel-efficient Airbus A320-200 jets. The first four of these will be put into service by the end of 2012, the remaining, being delivered in 2013. Each aircraft is configured with 174 seats, of which the first five rows are designated as ‘Smile Plus’, a short-haul business class service, to provide an additional pitch and enhanced service elements designed to appeal to the upper end of the market. This aircraft is seen as ideal for cost-effective operation over the type of short to medium distance routes.
The newest service of THAI Smile includes in-flight refreshments, free passenger seat selection and counter check-in procedures; 20 kilogram baggage allowance for economy class and 30 kilogram for business class. Members of THAI’s Royal Orchid Plus frequent flyer program have an opportunity to accrue miles for redeemable awards on THAI Smile: a further competitive advantage for travelers. Key to consumer convenience will be the introduction of pioneering online technology for reservations and e-ticketing, plus e-service applications to be available through mobile phone and other hand-held devices.
Among the most important benefits for passengers is the flexibility and convenience of seamless flight connections through Suvarnabhumi Airport between the international and domestic flight schedules of both THAI and THAI Smile. A range of special-need airport services is available to THAI Smile passengers. These features will constitute key competitive advantages over those of existing regional low-cost carriers.
The domestic destinations for the airlines will be from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, and Surat Thani.