THAI Smile winks at China
THAI Smile is stepping up its Chinese services and boosting flights to neighbouring countries.
The wholly-owned subsidiary of Thai Airways International will launch Phuket-Guangzhou and Phuket-Shanghai routes in October with four and seven flights a week, respectively.
The airline will also offer more frequent service on existing China-bound routes, with Bangkok-Zhengzhou shifting from five to seven flights a week, Bangkok-Changsha from four to seven a week and Bangkok-Chongqing from five to seven a week.
THAI Smile acting chief executive Wiwat Piyawiroj said the expanding Chinese operation is meant to cash in on the demand from Thailand's prime tourist source market.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand predicts 10 million Chinese will visit this year, up from 8 million last year.
THAI Smile also plans to operate Bangkok-Luang Prabang, Bangkok-Mandalay and Bangkok-Gaya-Varanasi service, with four flights a week on each route.
The airline recently launched a new service to Kaohsiung in Taiwan, complementing THAI's flights to Taipei.
Meanwhile, THAI Smile wants to boost its cargo business in the third quarter. The carrier will soon set up marketing offices in China and India to serve the import-export business.
Mr Wiwat said this year is crucial for the airline's network expansion, international management and service improvement. This month the company switched its reservation and ticketing system to the Amadeus Altea Suite.
"This year is important for the airline, with a break-even envisaged in the last quarter before declaring a profit next year," he said.