Thai Smile launches with service to Macau; domestic routes starting soon to make Thai Airways more competitive
Thai Airways launched its new lower-cost subsidiary Thai Smile on Saturday 7 July with the introduction of double-daily flights from Bangkok (BKK) to Macau (MFM) using a recently delivered factory-fresh A320, configured with 174 seats. During the next 10 weeks the airline will start to operate five domestic routes, four of them from Bangkok’s main airport. At present the airline share the same IATA code as Thai Airways, TG, making it harder to identify which frequencies are operated by which aircraft. According to the airline all Thai Smile’s routes will operate with three-digit flight numbers beginning with a ’7′.
|Launch date||From||To||WF||Carriers operating in June 2012|
|7 July 2012||Bangkok (BKK)||Macau (MFM)||14||Thai AirAsia 28, Air Macau 13|
|16 August 2012||Bangkok (BKK)||Chiang Mai (CNX)||7||Thai AirAsia 46, Orient Thai 16, Bangkok Airways 42, Thai Airways 49|
|16 August 2012||Bangkok (BKK)||Krabi (KBV)||28||Thai AirAsia 21, Thai Airways 18|
|16 August 2012||Bangkok (BKK)||Surat Thani (URT)||14||Thai AirAsia 14, Thai Airways 14|
|16 September 2012||Bangkok (BKK)||Phuket (HKT)||7||Thai AirAsia 56, Orient Thai 21, Bangkok Airways 49, Thai Airways 60|
|16 September 2012||Chiang Mai (CNX)||Phuket (HKT)||7||Thai AirAsia 14, Thai Airways 7|
|Source: Thai Smile|
On the planned domestic routes, Thai Smile will replace some or all of Thai Airways’ existing services. As the table above clearly shows Thai Airways faces strong competition on all of these domestic routes from Thai AirAsia, and also Bangkok Airways and Orient Thai Airlines on routes to Chiang Mai and Phuket. However, from 1 October Thai AirAsia will be moving all of its flights from Bangkok’s main Suvarnabhumi airport (BKK) to Don Mueang airport (DMK) which is much closer to downtown Bangkok.
Current plan is for 11 A320s with over 170 seats
A total of four brand new A320s are due to be delivered to Thai Smile before the end of the year with plans for the fleet to reach a total of 11 aircraft. The aircraft operates in a two-class configuration with ‘Smile’ economy class consisting of up to 156 seats. There will also be ‘Smile Plus’ business class service in the first rows of the aircraft which will feature 16 seats on international flights and 12 seats on domestic flights. In each row the middle seat is always empty, providing more space and comfort for those travelling in ‘Smile Plus’.