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Thai Airways (TG) A380 to London?

July 3, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59It looks as though Thai Airways will not operate its A380 on the London route after all.
As reported only last month, THAI was keen to deploy the superjumbo on one of its two daily services linking London Heathrow with Bangkok from December 1, adding London to Frankfurt Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo which is already served by the A380.image

THAI’s A380 will carry 507 passengers in first, business and economy class.

Business class is the big winner, with fully lie-flat seats and a staggered 1-2-1 layout so that every passenger has direct access to the aisle.

But according to a timetable update by airlineroute.net, there has been a change of plan.

Latest displays in airline booking systems (including thaiairways.co.uk) show the rostered A380 for flights TG910 (departing Bangkok at 0015) and TG911 (departing London Heathrow at 1150) replaced by a B747-400, the same aircraft which currently plies the route.

If correct, this news will not go down well with travellers. Why? Because the brand new A380 provides passengers with greater comfort and facilities than do the 20-year old B747-400s, even though the latter have been refurbished

Back in March this year THAI were not sure about when the A380 would serve Europe’s busiest air hub because delivery dates from Airbus weren’t certain, U.K. and Ireland General Manager Khun Wit Kitchathorn said in an interview in London.

image (1)“The A380s will substitute for one of two services provided by B747-400s that returned to the London route after a year’s gap for refurbishment,” he said.

“The 747’s cargo flexibility makes retention of one service desirable, with the jumbo regularly carrying outsize items such as Porsche and Ferrari sports cars that the Airbus would struggle to handle.”

“Frequencies are the most important thing, and from that point of view I’d rather have three 747s serving London,” Kitchathorn said. “But the A380 is also a prestige aircraft so we’d welcome it of course.”

THAI has not provided an official explanation for the aircraft swap. So it is unclear whether the change is down to technical or commercial reasons.

But THAI is believed to be having a tough time on the London to Bangkok route owing to competition from the Gulf carriers as well as British Airways – which has increased seat capacity now that its Bangkok service terminates in the Thai capital instead of continuing to Sydney – so adding extra capacity might be seen as unwise.

During last May and June, THAI cancelled flights TG917 and TG916 no fewer than 12 times therefore halving seat capacity on the days in question. And THAI recently marketed a “two-for-one” business class offer in an effort to boost premium travel.

All in all, the move is not good news seeing as December is the peak month for travel between Europe, SE Asia and Australasia.

Written by : Andrew J Wood

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