FX Excursions

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Manit Chaisukumara, General Manager, Thai Airways

Oct 1, 2006
2006 / October 2006

Global Traveler: Tell us about your career at Thai Airways and in the airline industry.
Manit Chaisukumara: My career with Thai Airways started out some 30 years ago in a marketing management trainee role based in Bangkok. Since then I have spent most of my time and expertise guiding the European and North American markets. I played a key role in opening offices in Madrid and Zurich and founding some of Thai Airways’ inaugural routes from Milan and Zurich to Bangkok, and most recently the New York to Bangkok route, which was launched in 2005.

While my first posting in the United States with Thai was in 1980 in a role as ethnic sales manager in the Los Angeles offices, I had actually spent some time previously in the United States as a student. I earned my bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University and my master’s degree from Central Michigan University.

GT: Thai is one of the few airlines with a premium-economy class. Tell us about that product.
MC: Thai Airways launched this service last year with the goal of providing the best offering for passengers seeking the comfort of business class combined with economy pricing. Our premium-economy class delivers passengers to their destination feeling refreshed and alert; ready to launch into business or leisure activities. Travelers demand and expect more when it comes to international travel and as a progressive global airline we need to have our finger on the pulse and be able to deliver a greater choice of comfort.

Only in June 2006, Conde Nast readers selected Thai Airways as the airline with the best premium-economy cabin. According to the survey, customers described us as “unquestionably money well spent.” In the survey, we were the only airline to earn four stars for both comfort and value.

GT: Thai is adding more flights to Los Angeles and New York. What prompted the decision to add these new flights?
MC: From North America, Thai Airways offers the fastest non-stop service to Southeast Asia, with the shortest flight times and quickest connections from Bangkok. That is especially compelling for many business travelers heading from New York or Los Angeles into the region. Our aim is to capitalize on this service as Bangkok develops into the major hub of the region with its new Suvarnabhumi International Airport. For a start, we will be increasing connections to more cities across India. Right now we are flying to New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore. We will soon launch service to Hyderabad, Gaya and Varanaisi. We also serve Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. We have no doubt that increasing service from New York and Los Angeles to five times a week, combined with offering the fastest service on that route, will increase corporate business on these routes.

GT: MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention and Events) business is a strong interest among our readers. What does Thailand and Thai Airways offer to that market?
MC: There are many reasons why Thailand is among the world’s most popular destinations for MICE events. The capital, Bangkok, is Southeast Asia’s leading aviation hub, served by more than 80 international airlines — more than any other Asian city. Thai Airways provides services to 72 destinations in 35 countries across five continents. Additionally, Thai Airways’ partnership with the Star Alliance global network increases our reach to 850 destinations in 152 countries with integrated schedules and code-sharing advantages, as well as linked frequent-flyer programs.

Known for its excellent infrastructure, hotels and meeting facilities, Thailand is renowned for its variety of opportunities for memorable experiences including sightseeing and enjoying fabulous culture, shopping, entertainment and leisure activities. Thailand’s greatest asset, though, is the warmth and hospitality of the Thai people, which makes this destination so unique and inviting.

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