The Civil Aviation Department has approved the air operator’s certificate (AOC) for Thai AirAsia X (TAAX), hence paving the way for the launch of Thailand’s first long-haul low-cost carrier. Following the receipt of the AOC, TAAX can proceed to apply for operating permits and slots for international flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport. The new airline will initially lease two Airbus A330-300s with 377 seats from a subsidiary of the company in its first year of operations, before future expansion. TAAX recently placed an order for 25 new A330s, several of which are expected to be operated by its Thai unit. The airline will offer connecting “fly-thru” services via Thai AirAsia’s short-haul domestic and regional network, thus providing greater connectivity options from hubs in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. The commencement date of commercial operations and the official launch of its hub in Bangkok will be announced following the receipt of the operating permits and slots.