The new light-premium regional sub-brand of Thai Airways International, Thai Smile, has taken delivery of its first aircraft in Hamburg.
Thai Smile took delivery of its first aircraft, an Airbus A320, on Friday, June 29. The delivery sees the Thai Airways International group become a new operator of the A320 family.
Thai Smile’s A320 joins an existing fleet of widebody Airbus aircraft flying with Thai Airways International.
Seating 174 passengers, Thai Smile’s A320s are powered by IAE V2527-A5 engines. The Bangkok-based carrier will start regional operations on July 7 with daily flights to Macau, before flying domestically in Thailand to Krabi, Chiang Mai, Surat Thani and Phuket.
These services will be followed by new routes to international destinations within Asia.
“We are delighted to take delivery of our brand new Airbus A320.” said Woranate Laprabang, Managing Director of Thai Smile. “Thanks to the A320’s cabin comfort and operational reliability, Thai Smile will be able to service the market gap between low-cost and full-service airlines.”
The aircraft is the first of 11 A320s which will be delivered to Thai Smile by mid-2015. The first six aircraft are being leased from SMBC Aviation Capital.
“This is our first transaction with THAI Smile, and we look forward to building a close relationship with them in the coming years,” said Peter Barrett, CEO of SMBC Aviation Capital. “The fact that we now own and manage 69 A320s and have a further 45 on order is a clear reflection of the high regard in which we and our customers hold this outstanding aircraft.”
Thai Smile’s remaining five aircraft will be directly purchased from Airbus and will be equipped with new Sharklet wing tip devices, which will deliver up to 3.5 per cent in fuel savings, according to Airbus.
Thai Airways International is one of Airbus’ longest-standing customers. The A320 joins an Airbus fleet at Thai Airways International which currently includes the A300, A330 and A340, with the A380 set to enter service with the carrier later this year. Thai Airways International will also be an operator of the all-new A350 XWB.