Thai Airways Plots Merger


Thai Airways is, according to reports eyeing a merger of its Thai Smile into the mainline brand.

Thai Smile is a regional aircraft and a wholly owned subsidiary of Thai Airways. The regional operator focuses on low-cost regional missions, having been announced in 2011 when there was a need for a carrier such as this.

The pandemic came down hard on the industry. It forced companies to make significant changes to their businesses to not only streamline but become more efficient and cut losses. As such, Thai Airways has undergone a restructuring that’ll see the company look towards consolidation within its business.

Thai Smile reportedly uses far too few aircraft to make its operations worthwhile at this stage, especially with equipment utilisation at an all-time low. It operates exclusively with a fleet of A320-200s, which average an age of 9.3 years. As the operations have been deemed not beneficial, Thai Airways will look towards integrating the brand into its mainline fleet.

As a result, this would see the 20 A320-200s to Thai Smiles name head towards Thai Airways, where they’d be deployed on missions of similar capacity. The ambition would be to increase utilisation to a point where flying the aircraft is beneficial.

As Thai Airways has been restructuring, discontinuing the Thai Smile brand is deemed worthwhile and would benefit customers more than if the brand remained.

Thai Smile has routes throughout Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and India. Per Cirium data, it offered just over 3,000 flights for April. Its most prominent was Bangkok to Phuket, followed by Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The company’s biggest grower was Bangkok to  Phnom Penh, with 120 flights for April 2023, double that of the 60 for April 2022.

Daniel Fowkes
16 May 2023
· Airlines 

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