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Tuesday 9 January 2024

Smile gone but eight new airlines are ready to fly in Thailand

Thai budget airline Thai Smile is no more after being merged with parent Thai Airways, but Thailand is set to have a number of new airlines this year.

No fewer than eight new airline start-ups are vying to take Thai Smile's place, Travel Mole reports.

New airlines aiming to begin operations this year are Asian Aerospace Service, Siam Seaplane, Really Cool Air, Avanti Air, Landarch Airlines, Pattaya Airways, Asia Atlantic Airlines, and P80 Air.

While some are aiming to be niche or regional operators, others are expected to lift flight capacity if they launch in what is a very competitive market.

The new brands have received some state financial aid and have initial Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand approval to operate a combined 60 aircraft.

Really Cool Airlines is one of the most advanced with plans to start international charter services in March. It was founded by Patee Sarasin, former CEO of Nok Airlines.

It plans to initially operate flights to Japan and aims to serve additional Asian destinations, such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai, during the first two years, the Bangkok Post reported.

Patee said the airline would focus solely on international routes to avoid highly competitive domestic routes, which are expected to be more intense when local tourism returns to normal levels.

Thailand welcomed 28 million overseas travellers in 2023 while Thai airports handled 100 million flyers.

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