EHIME ALEX, Lagos
Star Alliance has welcomed THAI Smile Airways as a Star Alliance Connecting Partner at an official ceremony on Wednesday in Bangkok.
According to a statement to NATIONAL ACCORD, the auspicious occasion was celebrated with a traditional Thai performance at THAI Airways International headquarters in the presence of member airline representatives.
With this announcement, THAI Smile became the second Connecting Partner of Star Alliance.
The Connecting Partner Model was first introduced in May 2017 allowing airlines to connect to the Star Alliance network without becoming a member airline.
This collaboration is the first of its kind in Thailand.
THAI Smile offers more than 396 weekly flights to 32 destinations in nine countries and regions.
As a Connecting Partner, the airline says it will extend the Star Alliance network by ten new destinations.
The statement noted that from today (Wednesday), passengers travelling on any itinerary, which includes a transfer between certain Star Alliance member airlines and THAI Smile on a single booking, will enjoy comforts such as passenger and baggage through check-in.
It adds that customers who hold Star Alliance Silver and Gold status in any Star Alliance member airline’s frequent flyer programme will enjoy a tailored set of privileges.
Currently, such privileges are available on eligible connections between THAI Smile Airways and Austrian, Lufthansa, SWISS, and THAI Airways International.
Star Alliance CEO, Jeffrey Goh, was quoted to has said, “Our Connecting Partner model was introduced three years ago to offer airlines an attractive way to connect to our global alliance network without requiring full membership, and we are continuing to expand the model to provide customers with more travel options. I am pleased to welcome THAI Smile Airways today as a Star Alliance Connecting Partner, from which customers will benefit through greater connectivity and enhanced services in Asia.”
Charita Leelayudth, CEO of THAI Smile Airways, was also quoted to has said, “Today marks an important milestone for THAI Smile Airways, and we are delighted to become a Connecting Partner. It brings tremendous value to our customers and the region we serve and is a strategic step that positions THAI Smile Airways as an important regional player.”
“We are committed to delivering exceptional travel experiences to new generations of travellers at affordable prices with seamless connections to our parent company Thai Airways International (THAI), a Star Alliance member. Our focus remains on strengthening THAI’s route network for the highest cost-efficiency and competitiveness,” Mrs Leelayudth added.
Mr. Sumeth Damrongchaitham, President of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited, while congratulating THAI Smile Airways, said that becoming a Star Alliance Connecting Partner will elevate THAI Smile Airways’ competitiveness and will also enhance the reputation of Thai airlines in the international market.
He noted that partnership is in line with the directive of the Thai Ministry of Transport to connect Thailand to the world.
He expressed that with its service excellence and highly efficient personnel, “THAI Smile Airways is a subsidiary airline that makes us proud and helps us stay competitive in the international market”.
“As for our future plans, THAI Smile Airways will be further developed as a leading regional airline that flies domestically in THAI’s stead and as a networking flight operator,” said Mr. Damrongchaitham, THAI President.
He asserted that THAI Smile Airways, with its ‘Thai hospitality’ services, is comparable to and has the same standards as THAI.
Star Alliance continues to evaluate potential opportunities for future Connecting Partners. Connecting Partners are carefully assessed for their fit into the existing Star Alliance network.
Shanghai based Juneyao Airlines was the first airline to become a Connecting Partner in May 2017.