Thai Smile to expand operations in India

  • Thai Smile will launch services to Ahmedabad, Amritsar and Kochi, adding to Jaipur, Lucknow, Varanasi and Goa which the airline already serves
  • The Thailand government had recently waived off visa on arrival fees for Indian passport holders

MUMBAI: Thai Airways International Public Co. Ltd plans to connect more tier II cities in India with its low-cost subsidiary, hoping to tap a growing number of travellers to the South-East Asian country.

Thai Smile will launch services to Ahmedabad, Amritsar and Kochi, adding to Jaipur, Lucknow, Varanasi and Goa which the airline already serves, said Thamanoon Kuprasert, Thai Airways International’s general manager for India.

Thai Airways, the full-service flag airline, currently operates to the metros New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

“We plan to operate flights in the near future to Ahmedabad, Amritsar and Kochi using services of our subsidiary Thai Smile (subject to approved bilaterals between Thailand and India)," said Kuprasert.

Also, “taking into account, the immense potential of the Indian market, Thai (Thai Airways) will be increasing frequencies on Delhi-Bangkok-Delhi route from the current 19 flights per week to 21 flights effective 3 February 2019", he said, adding that the airline flies about 735,000 passengers on the India sector annually. It plans to increase the passenger traffic by up to 10% this year.

The Thailand government had recently waived off visa on arrival fees for Indian passport holders, along with citizens of 20 other countries, travelling to the country between 1 December 2018 to 31 January 2019. Indian airlines such as GoAir and IndiGo have also launched flights to Thailand to take advantage of the increasing traffic.

India is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets. According to the forecast by International Air Transport Association, the “demand for air travel to, from and within India" will increase at an average rate of 6.1% per annum.

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