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tengohambre Jan 16th, 2007 07:02 PM

Thai Air to cancel non stop flts to USA?
Below is a story from yesterday's Bangkok Post, indicating that Thai may end its JFK and LAX non stop flights in April. The story doesn't appear to have been picked up by other media, but it does quote the President of Thai Air. Does anyone in BKK now have any news on this?

If true it would be a real bummer. The non stop makes a "short" trip from either coast much easier, not to mention the better seats on Thai. However, maybe falling oil prices will delay this change? Thanks

THAI may cut nonstop flights to US
Bangkok Post Tuesday January 16, 2007
Route revamp could affect summer service


Thai Airways International is considering replacing its direct flights to the United States with one-stop services in the wake of losses and fierce competition. The flag carrier's non-stop Bangkok-New York service is likely to be replaced with flights with stopovers in major Chinese cities such as Beijing or Shanghai, while Bangkok-Los Angeles flights would stop in South Korea.

The change in THAI's North American operation is part of a route revamp that could affect the forthcoming summer flight timetable, beginning in April. The new timetable was not expected to see any new routes being introduced, according to THAI president Apinan Sumanaseni.

Pressured by shareholders to improve yields, THAI is taking a hard look at the economics and viability of its entire system. Fierce competition on the so-called Kangaroo route _ flights from Australia and New Zealand _ especially by Dubai-based Emirates _ may force THAI to cut flight frequencies, he said. Part of the revamp also involves changing the type of aircraft used. For instance, it may use the B747-400 jumbo jet, A340-600 or B777-ER on US-bound services instead of the A340-500 that holds only 200 passengers. The higher capacity aircraft and the stopovers would help THAI to shore up profitability on those routes.

Capt Apinan conceded that THAI stood to lose some appeal by dropping its non-stop North American flights, directed over the North Pole, but it was more worried about the financial burdens these services entailed.
THAI operates five direct flights a week to New York and the same number on its Bangkok-Los Angeles route. Its services to Moscow and Johannesburg introduced last year were doing fine, he noted. Along with making efforts to reduce operating costs and improve profitability, Capt Apinan said THAI would proceed with the previously proposed establishment of a new wholly owned airline subsidiary, tentatively known as Royal Orchid Airlines, or Euarng Luang in Thai. The new airline would take over THAI's domestic operation, which has been suffering losses, using a more cost-effective and less complicated operating model. The new carrier will be positioned between the conventional premium airline and the low-cost carrier. With the creation of the new airline, THAI would become a fully-fledged international carrier. THAI expects an 11% rise in 2007 net profit to reach 10 billion baht, due to lower fuel prices. Net profit for 2006 was 8.99 billion baht, up 32.6%.

cruisinred Jan 17th, 2007 05:00 AM

I really hope they do not cancel the non-stops from NY. I thought those flights were doing quite well. When I was on the flight in May it was 100% full and the flight crew mentioned that this was typically the case.

StanKase Jan 17th, 2007 05:23 AM

With what the country is going through the past several months i.e. quiet coup plus isolated but several bombings the gov't will really put a dent in their greatest source of income, tourism. The 18 hr. non-stop JFK flight was terrific especially in Premium Economy.

JamesA Jan 17th, 2007 07:18 AM

Interesting to see the post close to this about sale of Biz class tickets JFK and LAX to BKK.

mrwunrfl Jan 17th, 2007 07:47 PM

Making a stop in China between NYC and BKK might be a bad idea unless China no longer requires U.S. passport holders to have a Chinese visa to transit PEK or PVG.

rkkwan Jan 18th, 2007 05:51 AM

The problem is that the A340-500 has pretty poor economy with today's fuel prices. Its 4 engines use a lot of fuel and doesn't carry that much.

SIN has lots of business traffic and SQ can command a premium on the LAX- and EWR-SIN non-stops. BKK is mostly tourist, and TG has to compete with many more airlines.

I am not surprised they're bleeding money with those flights.

rkkwan Jan 18th, 2007 05:52 AM

I mean poor economics.

merckxxx Jan 18th, 2007 09:24 AM

Most surprising element to me is that it claims actual "shareholders." A National carrier NOT dependent on their government - seems fairly uncommon.

rkkwan Jan 18th, 2007 09:39 AM

I looked up Thai's website. Their largest shareholder is Thailand's Ministry of Finance, at 53.98%.

tengohambre Jan 23rd, 2007 04:08 AM

As they used to say on Saturday Night Live, "nevermind" - I think. Below is a notice appearing on the TG USA website under News:

THAI AIRWAYS INCREASES Flights between the United States and Bangkok Starting MAY 1, 2007

THAI AIRWAYS INTERNATIONAL PCL is pleased to announce a change in flight schedule between Los Angeles and Bangkok and New York to Bangkok, adding extra flights to their current non-stop flight schedule to Bangkok.

Starting May 1, 2007, passengers can enjoy the comfort of THAI's A340-500 with the new Royal Silk Class and Premium Economy Class six times per week between Los Angeles and Bangkok on MON / WED / THU / FRI / SAT / SUN and seven days per week between New York and Bangkok on MON / TUE / WED / THU / FRI / SAT / SUN.

The Revised flights schedule is as follows: Between Los Angeles and Bangkok beginning 01 MAY 2007

Flight Nbr - - - Aircraft Type - - - - - - Days of Operation - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Departs - - - - Arrives

TG 795 - - - - - A340-500 - - - MON / WED / THU / FRI / SAT / SUN - - - - - LAX 2310 - - - BKK 0610+2 TG 794 - - - - - A340-500 - - - MON / WED / THU / FRI / SAT / SUN - - - - - BKK 1940 - - - LAX 2110

Between New York and Bangkok beginning 01 MAY 2007

TG 791 - - - - A340-500 - - MON / TUE / WED / THU / FRI / SAT / SUN - - NYC 1200 - - - BKK 1610+1 TG 790 - - - - A340-500 - - MON / TUE / WED / THU / FRI / SAT / SUN - - BKK 0040 - - - NYC 0635

Call THAI AIRWAYS Reservations at 800-426-5202 for more information and to make your reservations or call your local travel agent today.

rkkwan Feb 19th, 2007 02:17 PM

And now, we have "confirmation" that Thai is ready to drop the non-stop:

Just like the situation in BKK, we hear one thing today, the opposite tomorrow. Amazing country!

rhkkmk Feb 19th, 2007 03:24 PM

the saga goes on...

it is just as clear as the pricing of airline tickets....ever meet two people who paid the same amount for a ticket??

rkkwan Mar 13th, 2007 08:06 PM

Here's the most "solid" report about this. Thai is planning all 4 of its 345, including one that hasn't even been delivered to South African Airways. And the non-stop will be suspended soon.

Bisbee Mar 13th, 2007 10:35 PM

This is what's posted on Thai's website.

MichaelBKK Mar 13th, 2007 10:43 PM

The funny thing is, I just bought a premium economy ticket last Saturday (10 March) for the end of April early May and tried to upgrade it using miles yesterday. Royal Silk class was FULL for both outbound and return.

I was able to get it on the return by delaying it a couple of days, but it was full for the whole week on the outbound side.

Apparently, the problem is not that they can't sell the tickets, it's that they can't sell them at a price that makes money (it costs $20,000 per flight just to fly over Russia on the way to New York).

Also, if you read the articles carefully about the sale of the A340, you'll note that they're using a B777 on at least one of the flights.

glorialf Mar 14th, 2007 02:29 AM

too bad-- it was a great flight.

rkkwan Mar 14th, 2007 04:21 AM

They don't have the 777-200LR, which is the only other plane that can make those non-stop. The article means THAI is considering buying those planes to replace the 340-500.

There seem to be many different forces running THAI at the same time. Some want to continue the flights despite its losses, others willing to suspend it and sell the planes.

It went from 3 days a week to 7 days to 5. And rumours everywhere.

That's not a good way to sell and promote a product.

Guenmai Mar 14th, 2007 06:53 AM

Around the end of January when I called Thai Air(L.A.) about something or the other, I just happened to ask the reservationist if she knew if there were still going to be non-stop flights...L.A.-Bangkok. She got VERY ticked off that I had asked the question and asked where I had heard such nonsense. I only commented that there had been substantial talk of the possibility on non-stop flights not existing anymore. Well,she went pretty ballistic, to say the least, and basically said to me that there is always talk about things, but that that doesn't make it true and that if they didn't have non-stops then what would I think they would have? I let her calm down and then replied that if there were no longer to be non-stops then I would assume it would be back to the L.A.-Osaka-Tokyo route which I've flown many times. She huffed and puffed for a while and then I told her to have a nice day and hung up.Touchy...touchy... So there you have it. Happy Travels!

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