Thai Airways to serve 5 Chinese destinations in March

Thai Airways Airbus climbing after takeoff.
Jakkrit Prasertwit (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – Thai flag carrier Thai Airways (THA) has announced it will operate flights to 5 destinations in the People’s Republic of China following the country’s borders reopening.

Thai Airways becomes the latest of airlines to increase their capacities into the People’s Republic of China, and the five destinations will account for 14 flights per week.

A great increase

Thai Airways are set to operate flights to five different destinations in the People’s Republic of China this year, with the return flights starting as early as March 1, 2023.

With the Chinese borders opening up after the Covid-19 pandemic, travel demand and the need for capacity increases have spiked, thus leaving carriers to increase their presence in the Chinese aviation market.

Thai Airways will across the five selected routes, operate a total of 14 flights weekly to the People’s Republic of China, with the following destinations being on the map:

  • Bangkok – Kunming
    • Twice weekly – Fridays & Sundays
  • Bangkok – Guangzhou
    • Thrice weekly – Mondays, Wednesdays & Saturdays
  • Bangkok – Chengdu
    • Twice weekly – Tuesdays & Thursdays
  • Bangkok – Shanghai
    • Four times weekly – Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Sundays
  • Bangkok – Beijing
    • Thrice weekly – Mondays, Thursdays & Saturdays

Despite ramping up their services to the People’s Republic of China, Thai Airways still remain a great distance away from their pre-pandemic operating schedules to some of these destinations.

Beijing, in particular, has seen a great reduction to services just three times per week instead of the earlier twice daily-schedule.

The gear-up

Earlier in February, AviationSource reported of Thai Airways’ preparations in gearing up on the two main route services, being Beijing and Shanghai.

The Chinese market is one of the most important sources of income for Thailand’s flag carrier. Chinese visitors make up the largest inbound traffic since the pandemic, and the airline is delighted to welcome Chinese travellers back to Thailand after a 3 year hiatus.

Even though Thailand open its border in late 2021 under the test & go scheme, Chinese tourists did not return as Beijing (Chinese government) still implemented its notorious zero-Covid policy.

Prior to the pandemic, Thai flew to other cities in China, including Kunming, Xian, Chengdu, and Guangzhou.

Out with the old, in with the new

It’s no secret that the Thai flag carrier has been struggling for the past years, with extra struggles during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In August of 2022, the carrier received a $2.2 billion (80 billion Thai Baht) financial aid as a saviour from the airline going further into its bankruptcy ordeal.

However, the bankrupt Thai Airways is considering adding more widebody aircraft into its Airbus and Boeing fleets, despite cutting the fleet down to only four aircraft types

November 2022 saw Thai Airways sell six Boeing 777-200 aircraft, which have remained grounded since the outbreak of Covid-19 in March of 2020.

However, getting rid of the old seems to be no big a deal for the company.

Thai Airways International Plc is in serious talks with OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) on both sides – Boeing and Airbus – to add some 20 widebody twin-aisle passenger aircraft in the near future.

AviationSource has approached Thai Airways for a comment, but at the time of publication they are yet to respond to our enquiry.

By Adrian Olstad 4 Min Read
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