As Thai Airways performance has been severely battered by both the volcano ash and the political turmoil in Thailand, the airline’s management has unveiled a series of tactical moves to limit the impact of the current turbulence on the carrier.
Thai tourism has been hit by travel warnings issued by 47 countries. The airline forecasts a drop up to 70% of its cabin factor over the upcoming weeks. In April, cabin factor was already down, at 72.16%.
On Tuesday, Thai President Piyasvasti Amranand accompanied by Pruet Boobphakham, Thai’s Executive Vice President Commercial and Chokchai Panyayong, Thai’s Executive Vice President Strategy and Business Development detailed immediate measures adopted by the airline. The airline will reduce its capacity on various routes such as Bangkok-Athens (three weekly flights using Boeing 777-200ER instead of four weekly flights using Boeing 777-300), Bangkok-Dubai (Boeing 777-200 being used instead of Airbus A340-600) as well as Bangkok-India with smaller aircraft being inserted on Bangkok-Delhi and Bangkok-Mumbai. The latter will also see a decrease from ten to seven weekly round-trip flights.
However, Thai Airways could partially compensate losses on direct flights by promoting better connections via Bangkok, explained Amranand. According to Thai Airways president, two markets have the potential to attract more European or Indian travelers: the Pacific and Indonesia. Thai Airways can finally seize the opportunity to increase its presence in India – Southeast Asia’s most populated country; the airline will also propose two daily round-trip flights to Jakarta as well as two daily round-trip flights to Bali with convenient short connections via Bangkok to Europe and India. As to Australia and New Zealand, Thai Airways will temporarily suspend Bangkok-Sydney-Brisbane-Bangkok route and replace it with more direct flights with larger capacities on both Bangkok-Sydney (14 weekly flights with an Airbus A340-600) and Brisbane (five weekly flights instead of three). Thailand’s national carrier will also introduce a fifth weekly flight on Bangkok-Auckland (New Zealand) route.
To boost the traffic to cities beyond Bangkok, Thai Airways has launched special discounted fares on all domestic routes for bookings on both economy or business class until the end of the month. All-inclusive fares now range from THB 5,500 to THB 8,500 in economy class (representing a 20% reduction) for trips completed until the end of June. The airline is also currently studying a reduction by 15% on average of its lowest fares on international routes.