Star Alliance to show a new Smile THAI Smile Airways to become new Connecting Partner
Star Alliance today announced the plans for THAI Smile Airways to become the next Connecting Partner in its global network.
The Chief Executive Board of Star Alliance, meeting on the sides of the 75th IATA Annual General Meeting in Seoul, approved the application of THAI Smile Airways to become a Connecting Partner.
The Connecting Partner model was established by Star Alliance in June 2016 to complement its membership model.
In contrast to full membership in the Alliance, requiring building of commercial ties with all full members, the Connecting Partner scope calls for commercial relationships with a minimum of three carriers only.
Once all entry requirements are fulfilled, which is expected by the end of the year, THAI Smile Airways will become the second Connecting Partner, following Juneyao Airlines that connects to the Alliance's network since 2017.
Connecting Partners allow Star Alliance to close network gaps that may exist on a regional basis. THAI Smile Airways will add 11 new destinations to the Star Alliance network, which already comprises over 1,300 airports in 194 countries.
Jeffrey Goh, Star Alliance CEO said: “Three years after the introduction of the new programme, I am pleased to announce that THAI Smile is set to become the next Star Alliance Connecting Partner, which will support us in further strengthening our position as the leading airline alliance network.
The partnership with our first Connecting Partner, Juneyao Airlines, has exceeded our mutual expectations and we look forward to providing our customers with even more choice through the addition of the THAI Smile Airways offer”.
Charita Leelayudth, Acting CEO, THAI Smile Airways said: “We are delighted that the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board has given the green light for THAI Smile to proceed with our proposal to become a Star Alliance Connecting Partner. This gives us the unique opportunity to contribute to and benefit from the strong Alliance network and at the same time pursue our own business model, providing superior air travel experience for the modern travellers at affordable prices.”
The Bangkok based airline has begun to implement the necessary technology and commercial links which will allow THAI Smile to begin serving Star Alliance connecting passengers in 2020.
About Star Alliance: The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Avianca Brasil, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Air Portugal, THAI, Turkish Airlines and United. Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 19,000 daily flights to over 1,300 airports in 194 countries. Further connecting flights are offered by Star Alliance Connecting Partner, Juneyao Airlines.