THAI Smile, the new light premium regional sub-brand of Thai Airways International (THAI), has taken delivery of its first aircraft, an Airbus A320, in Hamburg, Germany on Friday 28th June. The delivery sees the THAI group become a new operator of the A320 Family, which joins an existing fleet of widebody Airbus aircraft flying with the airline.
Seating 174 passengers, the aircraft are powered by IAE V2527-A5 engines. The Bangkok-based carrier will start regional operations on 7th July with daily flights to Macau, before flying domestically to Krabi, Chiang Mai, Surat Thani and Phuket. These will be followed by new routes to more international destinations.
"We are delighted to take delivery of our brand new Airbus A320.” said Mr 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.”
"We are very pleased to welcome THAI Smile as a new A320 operator.” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “With its wide cabin, quick turn-around times and unbeatable operating costs, the A320 will be the perfect platform for THAI to build its new light premium product.”
The aircraft is the first of 11 A320s which will be delivered by mid-2015. The first six aircraft are being leased from SMBC Aviation Capital. The company’s CEO, Peter Barrett, said: “This is our first transaction with THAI Smile, and we look forward to building a close relationship with them in the coming years. 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.”
The remaining five aircraft are directly purchased from Airbus andwill be equipped with new “Sharklet" wing tip devices, which will deliver up to 3.5 percent in fuel savings.
THAI is one of Airbus’ longest standing customers. The A320 joins an Airbus fleet at THAI which currently includes the A300, A330 and A340, with the A380 set to enter service with the carrier later this year. THAI will also be an operator of the all-new A350 XWB.
The A320 Family is the world’s best-selling single aisle product line. To date, more than 8,400 aircraft have already been ordered and some 5,100 delivered to more than 360 customers and operators worldwide. With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single-aisle aircraft.