On January 23, 2014, Captain Woranate Lahprabang, Acting CEO of Thai Smile Airways Company Limited, gave a talk on the “Establishment of Thai Smile Airways Company Limited” and answered queries of staff at the Udon Thani station. The staff are comprised of those from commerce, ticketing, aviation service, ground, and engineers of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited. He was joined by Thai Smile advisor Mr. Chalongchai Hirunyalekha, who is also a former executive of Thai Airways International and helped explain the passenger service operations of Thai Smile. They were welcomed by Mr. Panthamanus Sakkarnvej and staff at the Udon Thani station at the auditorium within the passenger terminal at Udon Thani Airport
This meeting of staff at the Udon Thani Airport was held to clarify the necessity, the policy, and the reasoning behind the establishment of Thai Smile Airways of which Thai Airways International is the sole shareholder. Captain Woranate says this is actually in line with the company’s corporate strategy and reflects the rapidly changing market situation. With the intensifying competition in the airline industry, one important strategy is to have Thai Smile Airways replace Thai Airways International on some routes and join on other routes because of its lower cost and higher flexibility. The airline will also seek revenue opportunities through new routes, particularly those with a flight time of less than four hours, and serviced by its A320 aircraft. Moreover, Thai Smile Airways will become an alternative for passengers not seeking premium service but still desiring Thai Airways International’s safety level at a more affordable price with a speedier and more relaxed service. This can be compared to the retail sector that can be divided into different segments according to consumers’ behaviors from the high-end to the lower-end like Paragon, Emporium, Central, Robinson, Big C, Tesco/Lotus to the lower-end like Lotus Express or 7/11. The retail sector is an example of how premium brands can target the lower-end market with a change in the name so as to not confuse consumers and preserve the premium feel of its brand. In addition, other large airlines and corporations in other industries in Thailand all have successful subsidiaries that generates profit for the headquarter company. A good example of this is the success of Nok Air, which Thai Airways International holds a 39% stake. It is expected that Nok Air will be paying out dividends to Thai Airways International to the tune of 500 million Baht this year.