Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways have announced a new strategic partnership that, eventually, will expand into an almost worldwide codeshare arrangement. Depending on regulatory approval to confirm the Memorandum of Understanding, the first phase will start in the first quarter of 2023, the two carriers said in a joint press statement on December 2. Singapore and Thai Airways prepare for post-pandemic future.

Singapore and Thai have been working together for years, including their partnership through Star Alliance. With the new arrangement, the two airlines want to further enhance that and offer more benefits to their loyal customer base in Southeast Asia and around the world.

Phase 1 will see the two airline codeshare each other’s services between Singapore and Bangkok. Thai will codeshare in SIA flights to South Africa (Cape Town and Johannesburg), to the US (New York JFK, Newark, Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco, Seattle), and to Canada (Vancouver).
Phase 2 should see codeshare on other routes between Singapore and Thailand, the Southwest Pacific, India, and Europe.

By working together, the two airlines hope to capture new customers and benefit from each other’s networks, which were significantly downgraded following the outbreak of the Covid crisis in 2020. Singapore and Thai Airways have been building back capacity since the lifting of travel restrictions earlier this year, although some prevail in Asia. The pandemic forced Thai Airways to restructure and reduce operations and its fleet in its quest to return to profitability in 2024, but this means that the carrier is no longer in a position to offer the same network as before the pandemic. This is where the new strategic partnership should benefit both airlines.

Win-win opportunity

“Both airlines have a loyal customer base, as well as extensive operations within Southeast Asia and around the world. This is a win-win opportunity to support the growth of our respective hubs and enhance the options and service offerings for our customers”, said Singapore Airlines CEO, Goh Choong Phong, in a  media statement.

Acting CEO of Thai Airways, Suvadhana Sibunruang, said: “I am glad that this cooperation between the two airlines will certainly cater for the demand of travelers between Thailand, Singapore, and beyond. (…) The codeshare arrangements will greatly benefit our customers in a range of service areas, including the frequent flyer program, customer experiences, lounge access, and airport ground services. The collaboration strengthens both the airlines’ networks as members of Star Alliance.”

In November, Thai Airways Chief Commercial Officer Korakot Chatasingha reportedly said that the carrier is studying options to re-introduce some of its Airbus A380s to compensate for capacity shortfalls. During the quarter, the airline and subsidiary ThaiSmile operated 61 aircraft, with three Airbus A330s returning to service this Q4. It has another 27 in storage, including six A380s. Two could be brought back from deep storage, while four are scheduled to be returned to lessors. Thai Airways reported its first operating profit in Q3 since the start of the pandemic, with an operating profit before finance costs of THB 3.920 billion.

Singapore Airlines announced record-high operating profits last month for its Q2 and HY1 of FY22/23.

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Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News. From January 2023, he will add a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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