Thai Airways has confirmed a new low-fare airline will start operations next summer.

Called Thai Smile Air, the low cost carrier will be based at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and will operate using a fleet of 11 Airbus A320 aircraft.

Thai Smile will focus on routes with less than two hours’ flight time, initially launching to domestic destinations Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen, Chiang Rai, and Surat Thani.

From 2013, Thai Smile will look to start flights to international destinations.

The new airline’s schedule will allow passengers to connect with Thai Airways’ flights, according to Piyasvasti Amranand, Thais’ president.

“Thai Smile Air will operate using THAI’s TG airline code, and will be appropriately priced to ensure the product is competitive in the airline market,” he said.

The name of the new airline was selected from more than 2,000 entries from Thai employees.

“I think the confirmed name suits our proposed concept of being trendy, friendly, and worthy travel,” said Amranand.

Despite the launch of Thai Smile as its own low cost carrier, Thai Airways is continuing with plans to launch another budget airline in a joint venture with Singapore’s Tiger Airways.

Thai Tiger was due to launch earlier this year, according to the initial announcement last summer, but no start date has yet been confirmed.

Amranand said: “Thai Smile will not affect THAI’s plans to also launch Thai Tiger Airways, a discount carrier in partnership with Singapore’s Tiger Airways, which will materialise as soon as possible.”

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