Thai Airways International (THAI) expects to deploy its first Airbus A350 XWB aircraft in 2017, the airline has confirmed in Bangkok.
THAI’s department manager, domestic routes and sales, Dol Bhasavanich, said yesterday the fuel-efficient new aircraft would be used to “improve competitiveness in the commercial airline industry”.
The aircraft is most likely to be used on long-haul services to Europe and in Asia. Australia could do with more THAI services. The airline is extremely popular and its services between Sydney and Bangkok, currently operated with a B747-400, rate highly on airline review and comparison websites.
Demand for seats on THAI to and from Sydney is such that services are currently waitlisted in both directions – and the same is true for THAI services to other Australian east coast destinations.
Bhasavanich said THAI was currently drawing up its winter schedules (northern hemisphere). Whether services would be boosted to Australia had not yet been finalised.
On the A350 XWB front, meanwhile, THAI is reported to have ordered a total of 12 of the fuel-efficient new aircraft, four on direct order and eight on lease.
The Airbus A350 XWB, which entered commercial service in January this year, consumes 25% less fuel than “its current competitor”, according to Airbus. Its current competitor is Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, itself a very fuel-efficient aircraft, which says a lot for the A350 XWB.
Airbus adds that the new plane “brings a new level of passenger comfort, with more personal space and 18-inch wide seats in Comfort Economy”.
THAI recently inaugurated its first Airbus A380 service from London Heathrow to Bangkok.
Passengers who flew aboard flight TG910 on the A380’s inaugural flight from Bangkok to London were greeted at the arrival gate by a group of Beefeaters and Guardsmen.
TG910 departs daily from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport at 0110 hours and arrives at London Heathrow Terminal 2 at 0715 hours.
The A380 flight in the other direction, TG911, departs daily from LHR Terminal 2 at 1230 hours and arrives at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport at 0545 hours, next day.
THAI has been flying to the UK for over 40 years. In the other direction, it offers one daily non-stop flight from London Heathrow to Bangkok with onward connections throughout Thailand and beyond, to destinations in Asia and farther places like Australia.
Written by Peter Needham in Bangkok