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​Thai Smile aims for first codeshare partner in early 2020

Thai Smile hopes to secure its first code share partner under the Star Alliance connecting partner programme in the first quarter of 2020.

The plan for the Thai International Airways unit is to better connect it with Thai's partners globally, says Krittaphon Chantalitanon, vice-president of alliances and commercial strategy at Thai.

He adds that it is too early to say who the first codeshare partner will be, and that there is still some testing and work to be done before the carrier starts codesharing.

At the recent IATA annual general meeting in Seoul, Star Alliance announced that the Thai unit would become the alliance's second connecting partner. Star's first connecting partner was Juneyao Airlines, which joined in May 2017.

While passengers of Thai can transfer to Thai Smile for onward flights from the pair's Bangkok Suvarnabhumi hub, Thai Smile has no other codeshare partners.

Cirium schedules data shows that 13 Star Alliance carriers, including Thai, operate to Suvarnabhumi. Of these, three have codeshare relationships with Bangkok Airways, which operates domestic flights: Thai, EVA Air, and Austrian.

Star carriers without a domestic codeshare partner in Thailand include Air China, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, ANA, Egyptair, Lufthansa, Swiss, Asiana Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, and Shenzhen Airlines.

Cirium's Fleets Analyzer indicates that Thai Smile operates 20 A320ceo aircraft with an average age of 5.4 years.

Chantalitanon says there is no immediate plan to increase the size of Thai Smile's fleet, and that the focus is rather to fully utilise existing capacity. Moreover, the group's focus is upgrading the widebody fleet of Thai itself.

The carrier is seeking government approval to order or lease up to 38 widebody and narrowbody jets.

According to Star, Thai Smile will add 11 unique destinations to the alliance network. Its parent Thai Airways was founding member of Star more than 20 years ago.

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