THAI SMILE AIRWAYS, a fully owned subsidiary of national carrier Thai Airways International, will spread its wings further abroad this year to raise the number of passengers to 4.5 million and revenue to Bt10.1 billion.
“Thai Smile plans to operate more than 10 overseas routes this year,” Woranate Laprabang, acting chief executive officer, said yesterday.
“If the plans are implemented, aircraft utilisation will be increased from 8 hours per day to 10.5. That means more seats available,” he said.
Beginning on January 27, the airline will operate daily flights from Suvarnabhumi Airport to China’s Zhengzhou, followed by Indonesia’s Kota Kinabalu on March 1 with the same frequency.
For the summer schedule starting on March 26, the carrier will serve Laos’ Vientiane, Cambodia’s Phnom Penh and China’s Xiamen with seven flights per week.
The airline is also eyeing adding China’s Kunming and Zheng Zhou, and the Philippines’ Cebu and China’s Guang Zhao this year.
THAI’s board last quarter approved Thai Smile’s consolidation of operations at Suvarnabhumi Airport this week.
Before the relocation from Don Mueang International Airport, Thai Smile operated 10 flights per day. Nok Air handles about 50 flights per day and AirAsia more than 100 flights a day.
The move to Suvarnabhumi will help Thai Smile to connect better with THAI’s routes as well as to increase its own capacity.
More connectivity will help strengthen both Thai Smile and THAI so that they can take more advantage of international markets especially from third countries.
Last October, the Cabinet approved more flights by Thai airlines to Vientiane. The quota was raised from 2,100 seats to 14,500 for flights from Bangkok to Vientiane.
In the opposite direction, the quota was lifted from 1,000 to 10,000 seats.
The agreement aims to cope with the likely increase in passenger demand as well as to enhance flexibility for the three existing airlines and allow access by other airlines.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand plans to boost traffic between Bangkok and the CLMV countries, particularly Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
In 2015, 2.4 million tourists from the three countries visited Thailand, generating income of Bt65 billion. Some 1.2 million were from Laos, 760,000 from Vietnam and 490,000 from Cambodia.
Woranate said Thai Smile aimed to carry 4.5 million passengers this year, up from 3.2 million last year, while total revenue is expected to improve from Bt7 billion to Bt10.5 billion and average occupancy rate from 75.5 to 78 per cent.
“To meet with the growth, Thai Smile needs to increase its fleet from the existing 20 to 30 by 2020,” he said.These 3 paras are already in AEC Feed.