|Founded||1 May 1960 (merged with Thai Airways Company on 1 April 1988)|
|Frequent-flyer program||Royal Orchid Plus|
|Company slogan||Smooth as Silk/ I Fly THAI|
|Parent company||Thai Ministry of Finance,|
|Headquarters||Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Chatuchak District, Bangkok, Thailand|
Thai Airways (a trading name of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI)) (SET: THAI, Thai: บริษัท การบินไทย จำกัด (มหาชน)) is the national flag carrier of Thailand. Formed in 1988, the airline has its corporate headquarters in Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Chatuchak District, Bangkok, and primarily operates out of Suvarnabhumi Airport. THAI is a founding member of the Star Alliance. The airline is the largest shareholder of the low-cost carrier Nok Air with a 49% stake, and it launched a regional carrier under the name Thai Smile in the middle of 2012 using new Airbus A320 aircraft.
From its hub at Suvarnabhumi Airport, THAI flies to 75 destinations in 35 countries, using a fleet of more than 80 aircraft. The airline was once the operator of two of the world's longest nonstop routes between Thailand and Los Angeles and New York, but due to high fuel prices, the withdrawal of aircraft, luggage weight limits, and rising airfares, the airline abandoned all nonstop U.S. services in 2012 indefinitely. As of 2013, services between Bangkok and Los Angeles are served via Incheon Airport near Seoul. THAI's route network is dominated by flights to Europe, East Asia, and South/Southwest Asia, though the airline serves Johannesburg in South Africa and five cities in Oceania. THAI was the first Asia-Pacific airline to serve London Heathrow Airport. Among Asia-Pacific carriers, THAI has one of the largest passenger operations in Europe.
- 1 History
- 2 Destinations
- 3 Corporate image
- 4 Fleet
- 5 Aircraft maintenance centers - Thai Technical
- 6 Hygiene Award
- 7 Ground services
- 8 Cabin services
- 9 Royal Orchid Plus
- 10 Incidents and accidents
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
THAI has its origins in 1960 as a joint venture between Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), which held a 30 percent share of the new company valued at 2 million Baht, and Thailand's domestic carrier, Thai Airways Company (Thai: เดินอากาศไทย). The purpose of the joint venture was to create an international wing for the domestic carrier Thai Airways Company. SAS also provided operational, managerial, and marketing expertise, with training assistance aimed 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 decreased, with expatriates accounting for less than one percent of staff based in Thailand in 1987.
The carrier's first revenue 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, and then to Europe the following year. Services to North America commenced in 1980.
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.
1980s and 1990s: Merger with Thai Airways Company
On 1 April 1988, then-Prime Minister Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, in seeking to have a single national carrier, merged the international and domestic operations of the two companies to form the present company, Thai Airways International. On 25 June 1991, the new 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.
2000s: Airline brand renewal and financial difficulties
Using Airbus A340-500s it acquired in 2005, THAI commenced nonstop flights from Bangkok to New York, its first nonstop services to North America. The airline later converted existing one-stop services to Los Angeles into nonstop services using the same aircraft type. The service to Los Angeles was again reverted to one-stop service at Seoul on 1 May 2012 leaving the airline with no nonstop service between Thailand and North America. Citing very high fuel costs, THAI discontinued the New York service in July 2008, even though the airline had been able to fill 80% of the seats. The Airbus A340s used have been phased out using the Boeing 777-300ER for the Bangkok-Seoul-Los Angeles route. Although the previous A340 used for nonstop services was not subject to ETOPS, the phasing in of the 777 with one-stop service (with the 330 minute rule) will be indefinite for years to come; the airline has no plans to purchase the Boeing 747-8 for trans-Pacific routes since Thai Airways is operating the Airbus A380.
In 2006, THAI moved its hub operations to the new Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Coinciding with the arrival of new aircraft during the mid-2000s, as well as its new hub airport in Bangkok, the airline launched a brand renewal by introducing a new aircraft livery, new aircraft seating, and revamped ground and air services.
During the late 2000s, THAI's aggressive growth was hampered by a combination of internal and external factors, including a spike in fuel prices, domestic political conflict in Thailand, and the global economic crisis of the late 2000s. In 2008, after achieving profitability for the previous 40 years, THAI recorded a loss for the first time in its history at around 21 billion Baht (US $675 million). The airline cited high fuel costs and Thailand's political situation. As of Q2 of 2009, after a series of restructuring initiatives, including a two-year deferral of its Airbus A380 deliveries, the carrier returned to a net profit of 2.5 billion Baht. Now, it has gotten its first A380 and commenced service to Hong Kong on 6 October 2012.
2010s: Fleet renewal and expansion
While celebrating its 50-year anniversary in 2010, THAI, spearheaded by Piyasavast Amranand, its president and a former energy minister, charted new plans for the airline's future, including a significant aircraft fleet renewal and an upgrade of existing services. THAI has since placed orders for a number of aircraft, including the cost-efficient Boeing 787 and Airbus A350, and it has also launched a refurbishment of its Boeing 747 and 777 cabins. Mindful of rising fuel costs, the airline also announced plans to phase-out inefficient aircraft, including its Airbus A340-500. The airline has taken delivery of its first Airbus A380 aircraft in the last half of 2012, intending to eventually deploy the aircraft on its core European routes.
THAI has also resumed its network expansion with the resumption of flights to Brussels, in addition to a new nonstop flight from Copenhagen to Phuket. At the same time, the Greek debt crisis caused THAI to suspend its services to Athens.
As part of THAI's broader growth strategy in the region, THAI will be launching a regional carrier with light-premium services, Thai Smile which will operate narrow-bodied Airbus A320-200 on regional and domestic routes. The new airline expects to initiate commercial operations in July 2012, after its first A320s are received.
THAI expects to be the first carrier in Asia to fly commercial flights using biofuels. The carrier launched the initiative with experimental flights in December 2011 as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility program, otherwise known as "Travel Green." THAI hopes to stimulate sustained biofuel production in Thailand by working with Thai government agencies and regional corporate partners, such as PTT Public Company Limited. The effort aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in regional air travel as well as position Thailand to be the "bio hub" of Asia.
* A maximum stay of 21 days is required for passengers traveling between domestic points within Japan on TG-Marketing flights code-shared with Japan Airlines.
THAI is one of the few airlines with an inflight uniform change policy. International female flight attendants are required to change from their corporate purple suits (for use outside the cabin) into traditional Thai dresses (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. Consequently, traditional Thai dresses are only visible to the traveling public on-board THAI aircraft or in THAI's premium lounges in Bangkok. Cabin crew of nationalities other than Thai are not allowed to wear the traditional Thai attire. Male flight attendants also have on-board suit jackets that differ from those worn on the ground.
Political interference, corruption and abuse of authority have been persistent issues in THAI's management. Speaking at the World Economic Forum on East Asia, former president Piyasvasti Amranand, who had been abruptly dismissed in May 2012, cited THAI's procurement of A340-500s (three of which had since been grounded) as examples of mismanagement influenced by corruption and political meddling, and resulting in losses to the company's operations.
As of November 2013, the Thai Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft:
|Airbus A320-200||10||10||0||16||156||172||Operated for Thai Smile|
|Airbus A300-600R||3||—||0||28||232||260||All to be retired by 2015 |
|Retiring of 11 older aircraft starts in 2017 |
|Airbus A340-500||1||—||0||60||155||215||THAI Clarifies Sale of Airbus A340-500|
|Airbus A340-600||6||—||8||60||199||267||All to be retired between 2015-2017 |
|Boeing 737-400||5||—||0||12||137||149||All to be retired by 2015 |
|Boeing 777-200||8||—||0||30||279||309||Retiring starts in 2017 |
|Boeing 787-8||—||6||TBA||Leased from ILFC. Deliveries 2014.|
|Boeing 787-9||—||2||TBA||Leased from ILFC. Deliveries 2017.|
|Thai Cargo Fleet|
||Converted from passenger aircraft|
- THAI's Boeing 747-400 (HS-TGP) has been painted with a retro ‘Thai International’ livery as part of the airline's 50th anniversary in 2010. The ‘Thai International’ livery was used in 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).
- THAI 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.
Fleet development plans
THAI’s fleet development plans, as of December 2011, for the period 2010-2022 is in three phases:
- 2012: phase-out of 11 aging aircraft, delivery of 12 government-approved aircraft.
- 2013-2017: phase out of 35 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 Airbus A320.
- 2018-2022: phase out of 21 aging aircraft and acquisition of 21 next generation wide-bodied aircraft.
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 fourteen 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 8 series will be delivered in 2014 and 2015, while the 9 series 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.
Aircraft maintenance centers - Thai Technical
THAI maintains three maintenance centers located at U-Tapao International Airport, Don Mueang International Airport, and Suvarnabhumi Airport. The centers service aircraft belonging to other airlines in additional to THAI aircraft.
THAI Technical is certified internationally by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Joint Aviation Authorities, the European Aviation Safety Agency Part-145 Maintenance Organisation, and the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau for facilities at Don Mueang International Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport. It has also received its Requalifier Identification Certificate from the United States Department of Transportation for its operations at U-Tapao International Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport.
THAI initiated a program entitled “The Most Hygienic In-Cabin Environment Program" with an emphasis on air quality, surface cleanliness, and food safety. The program includes removal of all inflight disposable materials after flight, sterilization and fumigation of all cabin equipment, and inspection of the air-circulation system. A special audit process is also carried out for the cleaning and sanitization of the overall aircraft systems by a team of specialists. These measures are applied to the entire THAI fleet.
THAI 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. The World Health Organization awarded the airline a plaque for the implementation of its in-cabin management system in 2004. It was the first award of its kind to be presented to a private organization.
THAI Royal Silk or Royal Orchid lounges are available to THAI's premium passengers in various domestic and international destinations. The airline's hub at Suvarnabhumi Airport also includes a Royal First Class Lounge for first class passengers. Passengers traveling internationally from Bangkok in Royal Silk or Royal First classes are also entitled private security screening and passport control facilities, as well as free spa services at the Royal Orchid Spa, with different services available depending on the service class flown by the passenger. These services are not available to non-premium class passengers. THAI's first class ground services at Bangkok additionally provide private transportation services within the terminal to first class passengers.
On 30 September 2008, THAI's Ground services Department received a Certificate ISO 14001 from Bureau Veritas Certification
Royal First Class (First Class)
THAI's 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 15" AVOD touchscreens. These seats are also available on selected Boeing 747-400 aircraft. A new version of Royal First Class seating in a suite or enclosure configuration is available on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and on THAI's Airbus A380 aircraft and select Boeing 747-400 aircraft after the 2012 refurbishment. Royal First Class passengers can pre-order from 22 available meals.
Royal Silk Class (Business Class)
THAI's Royal Silk Class seats has been installed on THAI's Airbus A340, Boeing 777, selected Boeing 747-400, and selected Airbus A330 aircraft. The angled shell design seats have 58-62" of pitch and a width of 20-21.5". Seats have lumbar massage and are equipped with 10 to 15" AVOD screens. Prior to refurbishment, older generation Royal Silk seats on some Boeing 747-400 aircraft are sold as Premium Economy Class seats on routes to Scandinavia. A new set of Royal Silk seats is expected with the arrival of THAI's Airbus A380-800s and new Boeing 777-300ERs scheduled for delivery beginning in late 2012. The new seats will allow for a fully horizontal recline at 180 degrees.
THAI's Economy Class offers between 32 and 36" seat pitch depending on the aircraft type. Personal screens with AVOD are present on Airbus A340, newer Airbus A330, selected Boeing 747-400, and Boeing 777 (200ER, 300, 300ER, and eventually 200 series) aircraft. All Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 777-200 are expected to have personal television screens with AVOD once aircraft are completed with the refurbishment by the end of 2012.
Royal Orchid Plus
Royal Orchid Plus is THAI's frequent flyer program. It has a membership of over two million people.
Earning miles There are two types of miles which can be accrued with a Royal Orchid Plus account:
Eligible Qualifying Miles (EQM) are earned on:
- THAI flights
- Flights operated by other carriers that also carry a THAI codeshare (i.e. China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, El Al, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines and Royal Brunei)
- Flights operated by fellow Star Alliance carriers
Qualifying Miles (Q Miles) are the miles flown as well as the bonus miles earned from travel in particular classes of service on THAI and Star Alliance airlines. Royal Orchid Plus miles are earned based on the paid class of travel.
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– requires 80,000 Q Miles in one calendar year or 160,000 Q Miles from the date of enrollment up to 31 December of the next complete calendar year. Qualifying miles for Platinum status must be flown on THAI Royal First and Royal Silk only.
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 while 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 Douglas DC-3 with registration HS-TDH crashed at Chiang Mai Airport, killing 4 out of 31 passengers and crew on the flight.
- 10 May 1973 - A 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.
- 27 April 1980 - Thai Airways Flight 231, a Hawker Siddeley HS 748, crashed after entering a severe thunderstorm on approach to Khon Kaen Airport. 44 of the 53 people on board were killed.
- 10 November 1990 – Flight 306, an Airbus A300-600 flying from Yangon to Don Muang International Airport was the target of an attempted hijacking by individuals demanding to be taken to Kolkata.
- 31 July 1992 – Flight 311, an Airbus A310-300 hit the side of a hill 23 miles north of Kathmandu while descending toward Tribhuvan International Airport from Bangkok. All 113 on board (99 passengers and 14 crew) died. The accident was caused by technical failures, a lack of radar equipment at Tribhuvan International Airport.
- 11 December 1998 – Flight 261, an A310-200, bound for Surat Thani from Bangkok, crashed into a rice paddy about two miles from Surat Thani airport during its third landing attempt in heavy rain; 102 of 143 on board were killed.
- 3 March 2001 – Thai Airways International Flight 114, a Boeing 737-400 with registration HS-TDC, bound for Chiang Mai from Bangkok, was destroyed by an explosion of the center wing tank resulting from ignition of the flammable fuel/air mixture in the tank while the aircraft was being serviced at the gate in Bangkok. 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 crew member was killed.
- 30 August 2013- Thai Airways International Flight 600 an Airbus A380-800 ,registration HS-TUA, flying to Hong Kong from Bangkok but experienced an air turbulence, some passengers and crew were injured.
- 8 September 2013 - Thai Airways International Flight 679, an Airbus A330-300, registration HS-TEF, arriving from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN), China, had a runway excursion from runway 19L while landing at Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), with extensive damage to the airplane and the runway. All passengers and crew were successfully evacuated with no serious injuries.
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- Worldwide codeshare list Aug 2011
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