Thai Airways – Thai Smile merger gets green light

Photo via Thai Airways Facebook / Instagram user @narong1980

Debt-ridden Thai Airways International (THAI) will merge its subsidiary Thai Smile into its main company as part of its overall restructuring plan. The merger is set to be completed this year.

THAI reported that their creditor’s committee gave the merger the green light yesterday. Now, the plan will be put before Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) for approval.

Currently, Thai Smile operates under its own Air Operator Certificate (AOC), managing operations independently of THAI. Once the merger is complete, THAI will manage Thai Smile’s fleet planning, scheduling, and route network.

The merger is expected to pave the way for better coordination of short-haul and long-haul flights at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, higher capacity, improved utilisation, lower unit costs, and improved economies of scale.

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THAI shed light on the expected benefits of the merger…

“Currently, THAI Smile Airways is one of THAI’s subsidiaries of which operational performance results were reported in the parent company’s consolidated financial statements according to applicable accounting standards.

“THAI will implement the restructuring of business operation in aviation in order to effectively improve fleet planning management, develop a seamless route network for the benefits of customers and regain strength and competitiveness in the global market in response to the national strategy in steering Thailand to be the aviation hub in the region.

“The restructuring will enhance the company’s capabilities in every dimension including operating cost management, resource and work process integration, brand unity, and THAI and THAI Smile Airways market position to deliver the best travel experiences to the customers.”

Thai Smile’s brand will be retired but its more than 800 employees will not be impacted, according to THAI CEO Chai Eamsiri.

The airline expects restructuring to reach completion in the final quarter of 2023. In the meantime, Thai Smile passengers may purchase tickets and use services as normal.

THAI recorded a net income of 12.51 billion baht (US$370 million) in Q1 of this year, a considerable turnaround from its net loss of 3.25 billion baht in the same period the previous year.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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