Thai Airways’ subsidiary Thai Smile will become the second connecting partner airline of the Star Alliance after Juneyao Airlines, the alliance announced during the 75th IATA Annual General Meeting in Seoul.
The connecting partner model was established by the Star Alliance in June 2016 to complement its membership model and to expand its route network. Thai Smile Airways will add eleven new destinations to the alliance’s network, which currently comprises over 1,300 airports in 194 countries.
In contrast to a full Star Alliance membership, a connecting partner is not required to build commercial relationships with all full members. However, a minimum of commercial relationships with three carriers is necessary, among other requirements. According to the Star Alliance, all entry requirements are expected to be fulfilled by the end of the year.
Thai Smile Airways commenced operations in 2012 and is a wholly owned subsidiary airline of Thai Airways. The Bangkok-based carrier operates an all-Airbus fleet of A320 aircraft. Its route network mainly consits of regional destinations in Thailand and also airports in other Asian countries, including China, India and Malaysia.
Nick Wenzel founded International Flight Network in 2016. He is the Social Media Manager and an Editor for IFN.news.