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Thai Airways International

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Thai Airways International
Founded 1 May 1960 (merged with Thai Airways Company on 1 April 1988)
Hubs Suvarnabhumi Airport
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program Royal Orchid Plus
Airport lounge
  • Royal First Lounge
  • Royal Orchid Spa
  • Royal Silk Lounge
  • Royal Orchid Lounge
Alliance Star Alliance
Fleet size 91 (+59 orders)
Destinations 71 (59 inter. + 12 domes.)
Company slogan Smooth as Silk/ I Fly THAI
Parent company Thai Ministry of Finance[1]
Headquarters Chatuchak District, Bangkok, Thailand
Key people

Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (SETTHAI, Thai: การบินไทย) is the national flag carrier and largest airline of Thailand. Formed in 1988, the airline’s headquarters are located in Chatuchak District, Bangkok,[2][3] and operates out of Suvarnabhumi Airport. Thai is a founding member of the Star Alliance. Thai is a major shareholder which hold 39% shares of Nok Air—a low-cost Bangkok-based carrier. In August 2010, Thai announced to own 51% of a joint venture for a low-cost airline based in Thailand, with Tiger Airways owning the remaining 49%.[4]

From its hub at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thai flies to 72 destinations in 35 countries, using a fleet of 91 aircraft. The airline operates one of the 10 longest non-stop commercial flights.The airline operates one of the longest non-stop commercial flights of Boeing 777-200 from Bangkok to Brisbane. Thai Airways International was the first Asia-Pacific airline to serve London Heathrow Airport. Among East Asian carriers, Thai Airways has one of the largest passenger operations in Europe.

Skytrax awarded Thai Airways International Worlds Best Cabin Staff and The Best Airline in the World in 2006, while placing second in the Airline of the Year category in 2007.[5] Thai’s first class lounge at Suvarnabhumi Airport was awarded World’s Best First Class Lounge by Skytrax in 2009. Thai Airways International has received an award for the excellence of its inflight hygiene measures by the World Health Organization.[6] Thai Airways International is currently an official sponsor of Football Association of Thailand.



[edit] History

Sud Aviation Caravelle in Stockholm (1970)

  • Early beginning

Thai Airways International has its origins in 1960, when the airline was a result of a joint venture between Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) which held a 30 percent share capital of 2 million Baht, and Thailand‘s domestic carrier, Thai Airways Company (Thai: เดินอากาศไทย) to create an international wing for Thai Airways. SAS also provided operations, managerial and marketing expertise, with training assistance aiming at building a fully independent national airline within the shortest possible time. Thai nationals, through training and experience, were gradually able to assume full managerial responsibility and the number of expatriate staff duly reduced until, in 1987, expatriates accounted for less than one percent of staff based in Thailand.[7]

The carrier’s first revenue-raising flight was on 1 May 1960. Flights were operated to nine overseas Asian destinations from Bangkok[when?]. The first intercontinental services started in 1971 to Australia, then to Europe the following year. Services to North America commenced 1980.[7]

  • End of Joint Venture with SAS

On 1 April 1977, after 17 years of capital participation by SAS, the Thai government bought out the remaining 15% of SAS-owned shares and Thai became an airline fully owned by the Thai government.[7]

  • One national airline policy

On 1 April 1988, Thai Airways Company or TAC, which was the operator of all domestic flights, and the international division, on behalf of the then-Prime Minister Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, in a goal to have a single national carrier, merged to form the present company, Thai Airways International.[8]

  • 1990’s

On 25 June 1991, Thai listed its shares on the Stock Exchange of Thailand and offered them to the public. The Thai public offering of shares is the largest ever undertaken in the country.[citation needed]

On 14 May 1997, Thai, along with Lufthansa, Air Canada, Scandinavian Airlines System and United Airlines, founded the world’s first and now the largest airline alliance named Star Alliance.

Thai Airbus A300 at Phuket Airport (2008).

  • 2000’s

In 2002, THAI first operated to Chengdu, Busan, Chennai, Xiamen, and Milan.

In 2005, THAI started to operate a direct flight from Bangkok to New York with its brand new A340-500 started in May. Citing very high fuel costs, Thai discontinued the JFK service in July 2008, even though the airline had been able to fill 80% of the seats. Later in November, THAI began to served Moscow and Islamabad.

In 2006, THAI moved its operations to the new Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport on 28 September 2006. It also started to operate new routes to Hyderabad and Johannesburg in October.

In 2007, THAI started to operate seasonal flighs to Gaya and Varanasi in India.

In 2008, THAI opened the service to Koh Samui in February. This is the 11th domestic destination the airline serves. In the same year, the airline began to provide a direct flight from TokyoNarita to Phuket in July.

In 2009, THAI began to provide a direct flight to Oslo, Norway in June. The airline also started to operate a direct flight between Phuket and Hong Kong in October.

In 2010, THAI opened new route to TokyoHaneda. This is the fifth destinations of THAI in Japan.

THAI will start to provide a direct flight from Copenhagen to Phuket and temporarily resume BangkokPhitsanulok flight in October 2011 due to 2011 Thailand floods. In November 2011 the airline will resume its BangkokBrussels flight.

[edit] Financial trouble

After achieving profitability for the previous 40 years, Thai recorded a loss for the first time in 2008 at around 21 billion Baht (US $675 million) on high fuel costs and Thailand’s political situation.[9] As of Q2 of 2009, after a series of restructuring initiatives, the carrier returned to a net profit of 2.5 billion Baht.[10]

Thai Airways Airbus A340-600, in current livery

Thai Airways has announced that it is trying to sell its fleet of four Airbus A340-500 aircraft which was used to fly between Bangkok and New York, but has not yet done so due to the world economic crisis and the weak market for an aircraft with a relatively high seat-mile-cost. The Airbus A340-500s were used for flights between Bangkok and Oslo for some months during 2009, and currently operates flights from Bangkok to Tokyo (Haneda) and Los Angeles. All four airliners will stay in the fleet and might be reconfigured and deployed on other profitable routes.[citation needed]

In an interview Mr. Wallop, one of Thai’s board of directors, stated that it is “unavoidable” for the airline to resume flights to New York because A340-500s are still there. The plan is to make all planes better utilized, add more seats and move from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport, which is a hub of new Star Alliance member, Continental Airlines.[11] As of December 2010, no plans have been confirmed regarding additional services to the United States.

[edit] Destinations

Main article: Thai Airways International destinations

[edit] Codeshare agreements

Check-in desks in Suvarnabhumi Airport

In addition to some fellow Star Alliance member airlines, Thai codeshares with these following:[12][13]

* At maximum stay of 21 days for passengers traveling between domestic points within Japan on TG-Marketing flights code shared with Japan Airlines.

[edit] Corporate image

Thai Airways is one of the few airlines with a uniform change policy. International female flight attendants are required to change from their corporate purple suits (for use outside the cabin) into their traditional Thai dress (as seen on the company’s marketing campaigns) prior to the general boarding of passengers. They are also required to change back into the former prior to disembarkation. Cabin crew of nationalities other than Thai are not allowed to wear the traditional Thai dress.

[edit] Fleet

The average age of THAI’s fleet was 12.1 years as of 31 May 2010.[14][15][16][17]

Thai Airways Boeing 747-400 takes off from London Heathrow Airport in a retro livery to commemorate the airline’s 50th anniversary year of 2010

Thai Airways Boeing 777-200LRF landing at Frankfurt am Main Airport in a retro livery to commemorate the airline’s Thaicargo

A Thai Airways Airbus A340 in current livery at the airline’s hub, Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok

Thai Airways Boeing 747-400 landing at Phuket International Airport

Airbus A330-300 taking off at Perth Airport

Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
F C U Y Total
Airbus A300-600R[18] 11 28
To be phased out
Airbus A320-200 0 11 TBD 5 purchased and 6 leased with deliveries between 2012 and 2015.[19][20]
Airbus A330-300 21 0
HS-TEL painted in Star Alliance livery.
An order of seven aircraft will begin delivery in November 2011.
Airbus A340-500 4 60 42 113 215 To be phased out starting 2012-2013 ( 2 Leased to Vietnam Airlines )
Airbus A340-600 6 8 60 199 267 To be phased out starting 2015
Airbus A350-900 0 12 TBD 4 Purchased and 8 Leased, arriving between 2016 and 2018.[19][20]
Airbus A380-800 6 12 60 435 507 3 to be delivered in 2012
3 in 2013[21]
Boeing 737-400 5 12 137 149 To be phased out
Boeing 747-400 18 10
HS-TGW painted in Star Alliance livery.
HS-TGP painted in retro livery.
Economy class refurbishment on 12 aircraft, business class and first class refurbishment on 6 aircraft, scheduled for 2011–2012.
Two will leave the passenger fleet in 2011 and be converted into cargo configuration.
Boeing 777-200 8 30 279 309 Economy Class refurbishment on all 8 aircraft expected between 2011 and 2012
Boeing 777-200ER 6 30 262 292
Boeing 777F 1 Operated by Southern Air
being phased out
Boeing 777-300 6 34 330
Boeing 777-300ER 5 14 8 30 274 312 3 leased from Jet Airways[17][22][23][24]
Plans to lease three aircraft from Air India have been shelved.[25] However, in 2011 THAI announced that they will lease 2 more 77W from Jet Airways in order to modify 2 747 into cargo plane and to increase the modification process of new seats on 12 747s. The second of the 2 77W is expected later this year. 6 additional frames have been ordered from Boeing, with deliveries in 2014 and 2015.[19][20]
Boeing 787-8 0 8 TBD All leased, with deliveries between 2014 and 2015[19][20]
Boeing 787-9 0 2 TBD All leased, with deliveries in 2017[19][20]
Total 91 59
  • Thai Airways’ Boeing 747-400, registration HS-TGP, has been painted with the ‘Thai International’ livery as part of the airlines’ 50th anniversary in 2010. The ‘Thai International’ livery was used on Thai’s fleet in the 1960s when the airline was founded as a joint venture between Thailand’s domestic carrier, Thai Airways Company (TAC) and Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) with the Scandinavian carrier initially providing a 30% share capital of two million Baht.
  • The airline received the 1000th Airbus A330/A340 on 30 July 2009, which is an Airbus A330-343X powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700,with the registration HS-TEP.[26][27]
  • Thai Cargo leases two Boeing 777F N774SA & N775SA to launch heavy cargo service. It offered service between Bangkok-Hong Kong-Amsterdam, Bangkok-Dubai-Frankfurt, Bangkok-Hong Kong-Frankfurt, Frankfurt-Bangkok, Bangkok-Delhi-Amsterdam, Amsterdam-Bangkok. (as at May 2010)[28]
  • Thai Airways has Boeing Customer Code D7. For example, Boeing 747-400 aircraft that the airline has ordered directly from Boeing Commercial Airplanes are coded Boeing 747-4D7
  • Thai plans to use the A380 on flights to Frankfurt and London Heathrow, with Frankfurt being served first

[edit] Fleet development plan

THAI’s fleet development plan, as of November 2010,[29] for the period 2010-2022 is in three phases:

  • 2010-2012: phase out of 15 aging aircraft, delivery of 16 government-approved aircraft (three of which, the leased Boeing 777-300ERs, are already in use and five of which, the Airbus A330-300s, await the delivery of seats), and acquisition of four additional undetermined aircraft.
  • 2013-2017: phase out of 32 aging aircraft, delivery of 11 aircraft that have already been approved, and acquisition of 33 new aircraft, including 26 next generation wide-bodied aircraft and 7 narrow-bodied aircraft.
  • 2018-2022: phase out of 21 aging aircraft and acquisition of 21 next generation wide-bodied aircraft.

[edit] Aircraft acquisition plan for 2010–2014

Information current as of June 2011:[29]

The airline will phase-out its 6 oldest Boeing 747-400 aircraft between 2012 and 2013, 10 Airbus A300-600 between 2010 and 2013, 3 Boeing 737-400 between 2010 and 2014, and 2 ATR-72 in 2010. The airline also expects to discontinue its leasing arrangement for Jet Airways’ three Boeing 777-300ERs by 2013.

The 9 government-approved aircraft deliveries include 8 Airbus A330-300 aircraft (7 of which have been delivered and 1 of which await seating installation) and 6 Airbus A380-800 aircraft scheduled for delivery between 2012 and 2013.

Thai will acquire an additional 7 Airbus A330s between 2011 and 2013 for regional routes, and 8 Boeing 777-300ERs between 2012 and 2013 for intercontinental routes. Thai has indicated that the intercontinental routes served by these new aircraft would be Copenhagen, Stockholm, Los Angeles and Oslo, and the regional routes to be served by the new A330s include Perth, Dubai, Shanghai, Taipei, Mumbai (Bombay), Kolkata (Calcutta), and Bengaluru (Bangalore).[30]

On 13 June 2011, Thai’s Board of Directors announced they would purchase 15 aircraft and acquire the remaining 22 on operating leases. The purchased planes include six Boeing 777-300ERs, to be delivered in 2014 and 2015, four Airbus A350-900s (2016 and 2017) and five Airbus A320-200s (2014 and 2015). The leased planes include six 787-8s and two 787-9s from US lessor International Lease Finance (ILFC). The -8s will be delivered in 2014 and 2015, while the -9s will be delivered in 2017. In addition, Thai will lease six A350-900s from Aviation Lease and Finance, to be delivered in 2017, and two A350-900s from CIT Aerospace International, which will deliver the aircraft in 2016. The airline will also lease six A320-200s from RBS Aerospace International, to be delivered in 2012 and 2013. All the operating leases have terms of 12 years each, said THAI.[19][20]

[edit] Aircraft Maintenance Centers – Thai Technical

Thai airways International maintains three maintenance centers at U-Tapao International Airport Don Mueang International Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport for its own aircraft and aircraft belonging to other airlines.

Thai Technical is certified internationally Federal Aviation Administration, Joint Aviation Authorities,[31] Requalifier Identification Certificate From United States Department of Transportation[32] only U-Tapao International Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport[33] and Japan Civil Aviation Bureau for facilities at Don Mueang International Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport[34] European Aviation Safety Agency Part-145 Maintenance Organisation Approval[35]

It is certified domestically by Department of Civil Aviation (Thailand) for all its facilities located in Thailand: U-Tapao International Airport; Don Mueang International Airport; and Suvarnabhumi Airport[33]

In February, 27 1998 the Department received its ISO 9002 certification from Bureau Veritas Quality International[36] and ISO 14001 certification in 16 March 2001 for the whole department and for its New Aircraft Maintenance Facility at U-TAPAO Airport have from Bureau Veritas Quality International[36]

[edit] Hygiene award

The Most Hygienic In-cabin Environment programme was initiated for the safety and hygiene of Thai Airways International passengers and employees. The programme includes removal of all inflight disposable materials after flight, sterilization and fumigation of all cabin equipment and inspection of the air-circulation system. The programme also includes passenger food safety. The Special Audit Process is also carried out for the cleaning and sanitization of the overall system of its aircraft by specialists. These measures are applied to the entire Thai Airways International fleet.[37]

Thai Airways International is the first airline to install hospital grade air-filter True HEPA capable of intercepting up to 99.999% of dust particles and micro organisms on every flight.[37]

The World Health Organization awarded Thai Airways International a plaque for the implementation of the in-cabin management system in 2004. It was the first award of its kind to be presented to private organization.[38][39]

[edit] Ground services

Thai Airways’s passengers are provided separate waiting lounges in some domestic and international destinations which were Royal Silk lounges or Royal Orchid lounges.In Suvarnabhumi Airport,Thai Airways provides the awarded Royal First lounges.Also,they offers a Royal Orchid Spa which provides massage. This service is available for Royal First and Royal Silk passengers only(visitor are not allowed to use this service).
On 30 September 2008 Thai Airways’s Ground services Department received Certificate ISO 14001 from Bureau Veritas Certification[40] On 4 January 2011 The airline has been providing the service for check-in service at Bangkok City Air Terminal at Makkasan Station Suvarnabhumi Airport Link for passengers and their baggage flying THAI domestic and international flights.[41]

Ground services department thai airways have Best Airport Services and Best Airline Lounge – First Class at the 2010 Skytrax World Airline Awards.[42]

[edit] Cabin services

Thai offers four cabin classes including Royal First, Royal Silk, Premium Economy and Economy.

[edit] Royal First Class

Thai First Class cabin on the Boeing 747-400

Thai’s standard Royal First Class seats, manufactured by B/E Aerospace, were introduced with the arrival of the Airbus A340-600, and are equipped with lumbar massage and 10.4″ AVOD touchscreens. Royal First Class passengers can pre-order from 22 available meals. Thai currently sells Royal First Class seats on services operated by the Airbus A340-600, the Boeing 777-300ER and some retrofitted Boeing 747-400s. Boeing 747s with older First Class seats are being sold as Business Class until the refurbishment process is completed by the end of 2012.

[edit] Royal Silk Class (Business)

The new generation of Royal Silk Class has been installed on Thai’s Airbus A340, Boeing 777, and some Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A330 aircraft. The angled shell design seats have 60-62″ of pitch and a width of 20-21.5″. Seats have lumbar massage and are equipped with 15″ AVOD screens. On aircraft where new generation seats are not available, older Business Class seats are sold as Premium Economy Class. Older Business Class seats have 10.4″ AVOD touchscreens. Older Boeing 747-400s will be refurbished with new generation Business Class seats by the end of 2012.

[edit] Premium Economy Class

Thai Airways Economy Class meal

Thai airways Economy Class Cabin

Premium Economy seating is configured as 2-3-2. Seats include 135 degrees of recline, leg-rests and 42″ in seat pitch. Premium Economy class passengers also have more extensive menu options. Premium Economy class seats are equipped with 9″ touchscreen AVOD. Premium Economy Class is currently only available on Airbus A340-500 aircraft.

[edit] Economy class

Thai Airways’ Economy Class offers up to 36″ seat pitch. AVOD touchscreens are present on Airbus A340, Airbus A330 and most Boeing 777 aircraft. Older aircraft such as the Boeing 777-200 and the Boeing 747-400 are scheduled to be refurbished with new seating and AVOD touchscreens by the end of 2012.

[edit] Royal Orchid Plus

Royal First class lounge and check-in at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Thai Airways International’s Royal Orchid Plus is the airline’s frequent flyer program. It has a membership of over two million people.[43]

Earning miles There are two types of mile which can be earned towards a Royal Orchid Plus account.

Firstly, Eligible Qualifying Miles (EQM) this type of mileage is earned on:

  • Thai Airways flights
  • Flights operated by other carriers that also carry a Thai Airways codeshare (China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, El Al, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines and Royal Brunei)[44]
  • Flights operated by fellow Star Alliance members

Qualifying Miles (Q Miles) are the miles flown and additional class of service miles on Thai and Star Alliance airlines. Royal Orchid Plus miles are earned based on the paid class of travel.

Thai Airways Boeing 747-400 in 1974-2005 livery, taking off

Secondly, Partner Miles are earned from non-airline partners, such as hotels.

Status Tiers There are four tiers in the Royal Orchid Plus program

  • Member– entry-level status
  • Silver– requires 10,000 Q Miles in one calendar year or 15,000 Q Miles from the date of enrollment up to 31 December of the next complete calendar year
  • Gold– requires 50,000 Q Miles in one calendar year, 80,000 Q Miles from the date of enrollment up to 31 December of the next complete calendar year, or 40 international flown sectors on Thai within any 1 calendar year.
  • Platinum– by invitation only; requires frequent and consistent premium class travel on Thai in addition to longstanding Royal Orchid Plus Gold status

[edit] Incidents and accidents

  • 30 June 1967 Thai Airways International Flight 601, a Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III with registration HS-TGI, crashed into the sea when on approach to Kai Tak Airport in a typhoon. 24 out of the 80 passengers and crew on board were killed.
  • 25 December 1967 A Thai Airways International Flight Douglas DC-3 with registration HS-TDH crashed at Chiang Mai Airport Killing 4 out of 31 passengers and crew on the flight.[45]
  • 10 May 1973 Thai Airways International Douglas DC-8-33 with registration HS-TGU overran the runway on landing at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. There was 1 fatality out of 100 passengers and 10 crew on board.[46]
  • 27 April 1980 Thai Airways Flight 231, an Hawker Siddeley HS 748 crashed after entering a severe thunderstorm on approach to Khon Kaen Airport. Forty four of the fifty three people on board were killed.[47]
  • 10 November 1990 – Flight 306,an Airbus A300-600 Yangon to Don Muang International Airport Hijackers demanded to be taken to Kolkata[48]
  • 31 July 1992 – Flight 311, an Airbus A310-300 hit the side of a hill 23 miles north of Kathmandu while descending towards Tribhuvan International Airport from Bangkok. All 113 on board (99 passengers and 14 crew) died. The accident was caused by technical faults (with flaps and a possible second unknown fault), pilot error and lack of equipment at TIA at the time (no radar).[49][50]
  • 11 December 1998 – Flight 261, an A310-200, bound for Surat Thani from Bangkok, during its third landing attempt in heavy rain, crashed into a rice paddy about two miles from Surat Thani airport; 102 of 143 on board were killed.[51]
  • 3 March 2001 – Thai Airways International Flight 114, a Boeing 737-400 HS-TDC, bound for Chiang Mai from Bangkok, was destroyed by explosion of the center wing tank resulting from ignition of the flammable fuel/air mixture in the tank while the aircraft was parked, pre-boarding, on the ground. The source of the ignition energy for the explosion could not be determined with certainty, but the most likely source was an explosion originating at the center wing tank pump as a result of running the pump in the presence of metal shavings and a fuel/air mixture. One death was reported.[52]

[edit] Subsidiaries

[edit] See also

Portal icon Thailand portal
Portal icon Companies portal
Portal icon Aviation portal

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