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THAI bullish on rehab progress

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BANGKOK, 14 November 2022: Thai Airways International will reconnect with Asia Pacific airlines for interline partnerships, capitalising on the opportunities to re-establish Bangkok as a hub feeding TG’s long-haul network.

The national airline is speeding up its rehabilitation phase, having resumed around half of its services compared to the Covid-19 pandemic era.

Providing an update during the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines’ 66th Assembly of Presidents meeting in Bangkok Thai Airways International chief commercial officer Korakot Chatasingha said: “When we look at opportunities in the Asia Pacific, we share AAPA’s estimation that Asia Pacific’s recovery is quite slow as the major player like China continues its Zero covid policy.

“Therefore, the growth forecast for the Asia Pacific through 2023 is still below the global average. But by 2025, Asia Pacific’s growth rate should overtake the global growth trend.”

Airports of Thailand (AOT) announced last week its projection claiming passenger traffic at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport should recover in 2024 and 2025, matching 2019’s pre-Covid performance.

“In 2019, passengers, including domestic and international, hit 65 million, and we’ll be back to the same level as 2019 by 2025,” Korakot added. “For domestic passengers, we’ve seen an upward trend that suggests we will fully recover in the domestic space in 2023.”

Korakot said that the airline has now resumed about 50% of its operations when compared with 2019. In October, the airline carried 18,000 passengers per day, with a load factor of 81% and should see passengers increase to 20,000 per day in November.

“Looking at the incoming traffic opportunities, THAI is ramping up its fleet management with a focus on flying the right aircraft for our routes that ensure we have the right demand size and timing to meet the pent-up demand in the post-Covid-19 period.”

Currently, THAI and its daughter airline Thai Smile Airways, serve 68 domestic and international destinations with 713 flights per week. THAI uses 44 wide-body aircraft, focusing operations on key markets in Europe, Asia and Australia. It operates to eight destinations in Europe with 63 flights per week, 44 destinations in Asia with 402 flights per week and two destinations in Australia with 21 flights per week.

Thai Smile Airways operates 20 narrow-body A320-200s, covering 10 domestic and 17 regional routes with flight times of one to three hours serving Mekong Region cities and secondary cities in India.

“Currently, we cover all regions except the USA and China that still imposes the Zero-Covid strategy. However, we are preparing for flights to China as we expect the country to reopen its borders in the second quarter of next year,” said Korawot.

“We are looking at resuming flights to Beijing, Shanghai, and Canton. Meanwhile, we resumed flights to Sydney and Melbourne and increased double daily flights to Melbourne, giving us 21 flights per week to Australia. Also, we’re looking at adding more capacity in Japan and Korea to cover these potential markets.”

THAI will focus on long-haul flights to and from Bangkok while using  Thai Smile to provide connecting flights to domestic destinations and cities in Southeast Asia.

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