BANGKOK, 16 July 2021: Thai Airways International resumes flights to just 10 countries for the timetable period ending 30 September, according to an announcement made to the Stock Exchange of Thailand earlier this week.
It followed on from the airline’s confirmation, 1 July, that it was flying direct weekly services to Phuket from Frankfurt, Paris and Zurich in support of the island “Sandbox” project.
In its latest announcement, it scotched domestic flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Phuket and Krabi. In addition, the notice to SET revealed the suspension extends to most of the airline’s passenger services to Asian destinations, including services to most capital cities in the ASEAN region that were once core revenue earners for the airline.
However, it has activated three roundtrip flights weekly to Manila in the Philippines, the only TG destination in ASEAN at least until 30 September, when the timetable will come up for review.
Hong Kong gets daily flights. Seoul in South Korea is served by three flights weekly. There are no commercial passengers flights scheduled during the timetable period to any cities in mainland China.
Japan has the most passenger flights, with six flights weekly to Tokyo Narita and two flights weekly to Tokyo Haneda. Osaka gets four flights weekly and Nagoya two.
Long haul destination Sydney Australia is served by two flights weekly. In Europe, twice-weekly services are now operating from Bangkok to London and a single weekly service from Phuket to London. Paris gets a weekly flight, Frankfurt two flights weekly, and from Phuket to Frankfurt a weekly service. The airline resumes flights to Zurich with a single weekly flight and to Copenhagen twice weekly.
It’s a far cry from the airline’s pre-Covid-19 busy flight network. Flights to six Chinese cities and six in India are missing from the timetable at least until October. In the Asia-Pacific region, the airline cut flights to Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth in Australia and Auckland in New Zealand.
Flights remain offline to popular European destinations Milan, Rome, Vienna, Munich, Stockholm, Oslo and Moscow.
A hefty part of the blame is placed at the door of the latest Covid-19 wave driven by the more contagious Delta variant and the fact that most countries in Asia still remain closed to both business and leisure travel.
However, aviation analysts point out that with or without the pandemic, the airline was heading for massive cutbacks under a strict restructuring plan approved by Thailand’s bankruptcy court. Eyes are on THAI’s proposed timetable starting October and on whether Thailand can deliver on its promise and reopen tourist destinations as planned.
The country is averaging 9,000 new Covid-19 cases daily, and Bangkok, the main tourist gateway, is designated a deep red zone currently under a 2100 to 0040 curfew.