Thai Airways register growth following cuts in 2014

-A Monitor Report 01 Nov, 2017  |    -      +
Bangkok : Thai Airways, when combined with its regional subsidiary THAI Smile, is the largest airline group in Thailand-based on departing one-way capacity in 2017, putting it ahead of Thai AirAsia, Nok Air and Thai Lion Air.

The national flag carrier of Thailand has been gradually rebuilding capacity over the past three years with the help of its new regional arm, following cuts made in the immediate aftermath of political instability and a military coup in its home market in 2014

More than 80 per cent of Thai's published capacity is flown on international services in 2017, leaving its regional subsidiary THAI Smile to take up the some of the slack on domestic routes. In October 2016, Thailand's national carrier launched a new link between and Tehran.

Annual passenger numbers for the mainline carrier, Thai, decreased by 9 per cent from 2007 to 2010, before returning to growth over the next three years. From 2011 to 2013 passenger numbers increased by 17 per cent before seeing their largest decline between 2013 and 2014. This was most likely due to capacity cuts following the political upheaval in Thailand in early 2014, but it should also be noted that this year marked the introduction of services by THAI Smile, which would have taken some passengers away from the mainline operation.

The events of 2014 also had an effect on Thai's load factors. The airline's average annual load factor decreased by 5 per cent from 2013 to 2014 before rebounding with 4 per cent growth the following year. Figures for 2016 show that Thai's average load factors were about 75 per cent for domestic services and those to Europe and Australia, while other regional routes had lower loads of around 72 per cent.

Thai goes international with regional Smile

International routes will account for about 71 per cent of the combined published capacity of Thai and THAI Smile in 2017. Only 16 per cent of Thai's published capacity will be operated on domestic services compared to 80 per cent for THAI Smile. The mainline carrier has reduced the percentage of its overall capacity flown on domestic routes by 10 per cent since 2014, suggesting a strategic shift of domestic services onto its regional subsidiary. From 2014 to 2017 Thai increased its international capacity by 9 per cent.

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