Thai Airways has announced they will resume regular scheduled services to/from countries with a high vaccination rate (around 70%) and resume ticketing as soon as October 1, 2021.
It’s unclear why THAI would come up with this plan right now and what type of passengers they seek to acquire as Thailand doesn’t yet give any quarantine waivers for vaccinated travelers (at least until Nov 1).
At the same time Thailand is still on the red list for many countries due to the high case numbers in the Kingdom so flying around with little to no customers seems like an odd plan.
Despite being in administration THAI has already operated lots on flights in recent months including weekly flights to Phuket from several European destinations such as Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London and Paris. There has also been a schedule with “special flights” to various destinations in Asia.
The Bangkok Post reported today that the airline is “restarting to sell tickets” which is an odd phrase considering Thai never really stopped selling tickets to begin with.
Thai Airways International (THAI) has announced it will start selling tickets on select international flights to destinations with high vaccination rates, from Oct 1.
The airline will re-commence flights to lucrative markets in Europe such as Britain, France and Germany as well as some cities in Japan and Australia.
The decision to resume flights came after these countries reported high rates of vaccination at around 70% of their populations.
China, another highly profitable destination, is expected to be back on THAI’s scheduled passenger flight network next year. …
The company has set a target of cutting back up to 53 billion baht in investment costs by the end of next year. So far, it has saved 44 billion baht towards the goal.
The cutbacks have resulted from continued implementation of more than 600 retrenchment and austerity programmes of all sizes. Among them is the downsizing of the workforce achieved by shedding 48% of employees to 15,300 from 29,500 two years ago.
Mr Chai said the retrenchments have more than halved the company’s expenses.
The vice president added THAI has sold or is selling 42 of the 100 planes in its fleet. He expected the planes to all be sold off by the end of the year.
As for the six superjumbo Airbus A380 aircraft in the airline’s fleet, he said two, which the company owns, have been put up for sale.
The remaining four that are leased are in the process of being returned.
The article doesn’t mention when flights would resume and at what frequency. Given that THAI has already been serving all the of the destinations mentioned in the article for the better part of 2021 and obviously selling tickets for those I fail to see what’s new here.
In July I took a Thai Airways flight to Tokyo and last week another one from Frankfurt to Phuket. Both of these tickets were publicly available for sale (I used awards).
As I wrote yesterday there are reports that Thailand will waive the quarantine requirement from November 1, 2021 for fully vaccinated travelers so THAI could have been tasked by the government to gear up for that.
However there is a problem: These passengers usually have to return to their countries of origin following their stay in Thailand. The Schengen group of countries as well as the UK has Thailand red listed. Japan and Korea are currently impossible to enter for non-citizens/residents and those returning must undergo a two week quarantine. China and Australia are still sealed off despite some friendlier tones by the Dear Leader of Australia last week that citizens might soon be able to leave their country again (kiss the ring).
Traveling TO Thailand is one thing, returning home another. This is something that doesn’t seem to be setting in with the decision makers in the Kingdom as their attitude seems to be that it’s everyone waiting to be rushing back to Thailand as soon as they open. It’s more complicated than that.
It’s funny enough that this is being justified as those countries where flights will be restarted to are having a high (~70%) vaccination rate while Covid is still rampant in Thailand itself.
According to news reports Thai Airways will ramp up their ticket sales again starting Friday, October 1st. It’s unclear what destinations would suddenly appear in the GDS systems as THAI has been flying to many cities in Asia and Europe for quite a while now.
I’d still be careful about giving money to THAI considering their financial situation. THAI still owes billions in refunds to consumers who got burned by the bankruptcy administration process of the carrier. They have now become creditors with the likelihood of getting a cash refund being close to zero. THAI has issued vouchers though and many have successfully redeemed them. With the country finally set to reopen (we’ll see about that) this could be an opportunity to finally burn these vouchers.