Thai Airways International is to debut new business-class product on its fleet of Airbus A320s, as it completes the acquisition of its regional unit Thai Smile Airways.
In response to FlightGlobal’s queries, the Bangkok-based carrier confirms the retrofitted A320s are scheduled to enter service in the fourth quarter of this year.
The 20 narrowbody jets inherited from the regional unit currently feature an all-economy layout of 168 seats. Thai did not disclose how many new business-class seats it will install.
The retrofit will also see the A320 fleet fitted with a wireless in-flight entertainment system, a departure from Thai’s widebody fleet which features seat-back entertainment systems.
Star Alliance carrier Thai deploys the A320s on domestic routes, as well as short-haul flights to countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore and India.
Thai began taking ex-Thai Smile A320s in June 2023, a month after it announced plans to merge the carrier into mainline operations. In an interview with FlightGlobal, airline chief Chai Eamsiri says the A320s allow the carrier to “right-size” its international operations, while improving fleet utilisation rates.
The airline adds: “This managerial consolidation optimises Thai’s route network, enhances fleet efficiency, and reinforces the airline’s competitiveness in cost management and market segmentation.”
Thai also has plans to lease A321neos, which will operate alongside the existing A320s before the latter is phased out.