THAI Airways International plans to add the latest A350 aircraft to Australian routes, resume flights to Moscow, begin flying to Iran and recruit up to 600 new graduates aged in their mid 20s as flight attendants.
THAI president Charamporn Jotikasthira said THAI would receive two A350s in August and September and would deploy them on flights between Bangkok and Melbourne, starting in September.
The Bangkok Post quoted Charamporn saying THAI would begin a three-times-weekly service between Bangkok and Tehran, the Iranian capital, from 1 October 2016. He said 250,000 Iranians visited Thailand each year and the airline expected bookings on the route to be “solid”.
Thai AirAsia X has already begun flying to Tehran but it caters more to the budget end of the market.
THAI plans to resurrect its Bangkok-Moscow route on 1 November 2016, Thailand’s The Nation reported, adding that the market is seen as having high potential after Russia’s economic woes drove some budget airlines out of the market. The wealthy, who like to travel in style, are still travelling. That is also true of Iran.
THAI’s new flight attendant recruits will work under a three-year contact plus a three-year extension. The contract will end when they reach 30 so their ages will be 24-27.
The developments appear to herald a new expansionary phase for THAI, which less than a year ago (in July 2015) announced it would cut 1400 jobs through voluntary retirement and suspend its loss-making flights to Los Angeles and Rome. THAI also stopped flying to Moscow as it worked to reduce operating costs and capacity by 20% as it pursued a two-year internal restructuring plan.
The plan appears to be working. The airline’s finances are now back in the black, aided by cost-cutting and lower fuel costs. The A350s which will serve Melbourne are among 14 new aircraft THAI has bought recently. The others will be delivered from mid-2017 to 2018.
THAI wants to turn Bangkok into a true aviation hub for Southeast Asia by increasing frequencies of existing flights such as Bangkok-Manila and Bangkok-Jakarta and better serve connecting passengers from the Middle East, India and Europe, The Nation reported.
THAI’s budget airline, Thai Smile, will boost frequencies to Yangon, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur in late October and start operating between Bangkok and Cebu in the Philippines in November.
Written by Peter Needham